A Grammar of Hamar
A South Omotic Language of Ethiopia
Author: Sara Petrollino. Series edited by: Hans-Jürgen Sasse †, Mauro Tosco.
Series: Cushitic and Omotic Studies Volume 64th quarter 2016
22 pp. Roman, 342 pp.
3 maps, 9 diagrams, 76 tables, appendix: Hamar texts, Hamar–English and English–Hamar lexicons, subject index
Text language(s): English
Format: 160 x 240 mm
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This study focuses on the description of the phonology, morphology and syntax of Hamar, a language spoken by the agro-pastoralist people who are known by the same name, and live in the lower Omo valley of South West Ethiopia. The study is based on 9 months of fieldwork carried out between 2013 and 2014 in Hamar territories. Language data was gathered from 14 native speakers in Hamar villages, and it amounts to 50 texts of varying lengths and genres. While the exact classification of Hamar remains controversial, this work points out, without any claim of completeness, various putative links to language families and groups.
The Hamar language is spoken by approximately 46,500 people (Lewis 2009). The Hamar refer to their own language as hámar aapó and they form a cultural and linguistic unit together with the Banna and the Bashadda. Their languages are intelligible, but show minor variations in the lexicon and in the phonology. The commonly accepted classification sees Hamar as a South Omotic language within the Omotic family of the Afro-Asiatic phylum. Whereas there is general consensus on the genetic relationship between Hamar (including its dialects Banna and Bashadda), Aari, Dime and Kara (that is, the South Omotic branch of the Omotic family), the controversy concerns the external relationships that this group of languages holds with Cushitic and/or Omotic, and at a higher level, with the Afro-Asiatic or the Nilo-Saharan phylum. The author concludes that ambiguous traits such as the Nilotic elements in the pronominal system or the Afro-Asiatic features in the verbal derivation are the vestiges of millennia of intense language contact that took place between Afro-Asiatic and Nilo-Saharan.
Following the links below you will find further linguistic and ethnographic descriptions of Omotic languages and cultures:
- An Annotated Edition of Father G. Toselli’s Dizi Grammar
- Aspects of Koorete Verb Morphology
- Die Wandernde ist eine Kuh
- The Bashada of Southern Ethiopia
- The Wolaytta Language
- Colloque international sur les langues couchitiques et les peuples qui les parlent – International Conference on Cushitic Languages and Peoples
- Converbs, Medial Verbs, Clause Chaining and Related Issues
- Deictics, Copula, and Focus in the Ethiopian Convergence Area
- Language Contact and Language Change in Ethiopia
- Omotic and Cushitic Language Studies
- Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Cushitic and Omotic Languages, Paris, 16-18 April 2008
- To Live with Others
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