The syntax of Amharic ideophones


  • Teferi Mulugeta Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
  • Bye Yimam Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia


complex predicate, distributional restrictions, ideophones, syntax, syntactic function


This study is on Amharic ideophones, a subject that has not been described well in the syntax of Amharic. The data used for the analysis are collected from natural settings of the Amharic-speaking community in Debre Birhan College of Teacher Education. The description shows that Amharic ideophones contradict some earlier generalizations made about the syntax of ideophones in such works which claim that ideophones do not fit in the grammar of other word classes in a language, and which states that ideophones do not enter any phrase structure, nor are they modified by other word classes.  The description here shows that ideophones fit well into the grammar of the Amharic language. In contrast to such claims, they project different phrases such as noun phrases, which occur in subject and object positions and they can occur with or without a modifier.  Their verb phrases appear with adverbial modifiers. Amharic ideophones can also be modifiers of nouns, verbs, and adjectives. They form complex predicates with auxiliaries.  Their noun phrases come in dative, ablative and locative case forms.  Ideophones occur in all types of sentences, suggesting that their distribution is unrestricted.


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How to Cite

Mulugeta, T., & Yimam, B. (2022). The syntax of Amharic ideophones. Macrolinguistics and Microlinguistics, 3(1), 1–14.