Journal of
Languages and Culture

  • Abbreviation: J. Lang. Cult.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6540
  • DOI: 10.5897/JLC
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 132

Full Length Research Paper

Grammaticalization of the Amharic word fit “face” from a body part to grammatical meanings

Daniel Aberra
  • Daniel Aberra
  • CanAfrik Multimedia Communications, Canada.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 19 February 2016
  •  Accepted: 25 August 2016
  •  Published: 31 October 2016


This study focuses on the polysemy of the Amharic fit “face”, its body–part term and grammaticalized meanings. The data has been collected from the wide range of written sources and from the internet due to absence of corpus data. By considering the functional-grammaticalization theoretical model, the grammaticalization of fit “face” is identified to be between the intermediate and advanced stages of the change process where it acquires secondary meanings, forms paradigms, becomes obligatory in the constructions, and acquires a fixed order of occurrence. By organizing the extended meanings of the body-part term fit of Amharic into similar meaning clusters, the study shows that fit “face” provides seven spatial and temporal grammatical meaning extensions; front, side, parallel (opposite), future, past (before), temporal relations and negative past. Moreover, the Amharic spatial reference is also identified as having a single-file or object-deictic oriented model.

Key words: Grammaticalization, Amharic, body-part, face, spatial, temporal.


ABL: ablative; OBJ: object; ACC: accusative; PART: particle; ADJ: adjective; PASS: passive; ALL: allative; PERF: perfective; AUX: auxiliary; PL: Plural; BPT: body-part term; POL: polite; DEF: definite; POST: postposition; IMPF: imperfective; PREP: preposition; LIT: literal; RECP: reciprocal; LOC: locative; RELZR: relativizer; M: masculine; SBJ: subject; MALF: malfactive; SG: singular; NEG: negation; 2: second person; 3: third person