Neologism construction in Amharic by compounding various parts of speech

Michał Kozicki


The Amharic language is the second most widely spoken Semitic language in the world, used by around 25 million speakers. Even though the Amharic language is successfully used in many domains, it still needs appropriate neologisms to give name to notions typical for Western European culture which increasingly influences not only the language but also the culture of Ethiopia. Even though loanwords from European languages were ubiquitous in Amharic for many decades, in recent years the lexicon of the extinct Geʿez language is partially used to coin a number of neologisms by means of metaphors or different juxtaposed parts of speech. In the beginning, the compounds in the form of the Amharic and Geʿez construct state (status constructus) are discussed; this is followed by an analysis of adjective-noun compounds, constructions with the nouns derived from verbs and verb and noun compounds. In the next part of the article the compounds
with Geʿez prefixes are considered. The analysis of hybridised compounds and loan translations is the final point of the paper.

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