Publication on the Grammar of Questions in Baskeet

[Back again on wordpress after a long silence:] There are not yet many publications on the Baskeet language (see a list of references here) but recently an article of mine on the grammar of questions (“Interrogativity in Baskeet”) has occurred in the following edited book.

Meyer, Ronny, Yvonne Treis & Azeb Amha 2014. Explorations in Ethiopian Linguistics: Complex Predicates, Finiteness and Interrogativity. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

The book assembles most linguistic papers that were presented at the 18th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES18) in Dire Dawa, 29 October-2 November 2012.

My article (“Interrogativity in Baskeet”) analyzes the grammar of questions in Baskeet. First I give an overview of interrogative marking on verbal and non-verbal predicates. Depending on the type of predicate, direct questions are marked by intonation, by an interrogative morpheme –a, or special interrogative verb forms (from so-called “interrogative paradigms”, an Omotic peculiarity). In the second part I discuss the forms and functions of the six simplex interrogative pronouns, i.e. person (‘who?’), thing (‘what?’), time (‘when?’), quantity (‘how much’), manner (‘how’), place (‘where’), and selection interrogatives (‘which?’), as well as pronouns derived from them, are discussed. Finally, I take a look at the use of question words in non-interrogative contexts, especially as indefinite pronouns (e.g. ‘someone’, ‘whoever’).

Question words in Baskeet

Question words in Baskeet

Most of the language examples quoted in my article are from my corpus of recorded texts, especially from the interviews between my language assistant Ambaye Tsedeke and Baskeet lyre and bamboo trumpet players. Each language example in the article is linked to a sound file. Most of the data for this article has been collected during fieldtrips sponsored by the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (IPF-Project: Documentation of Baskeet song, verbal art and ceremonial language).

For those of you who are interested in the Baskeet language but for whom my article is “too linguisticky” I’ll give a summary of its contents in my next post.

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