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Ethiopic Grammar

Processor: Stefan Weninger

The Ethiopic language – with its indigenous name Gəʾəz – was the dominant literary language of the country since the introduction of Christianity in the Aksumite Empire in the 4th century until the 19th century A.D. Gəʾəz is the oldest representative of the Ethio-Semitic language group. The last extensive reference grammar of this important Semitic language has been the second edition of August Dillmann‘s Ethiopic Grammar, that was published posthumously in 1899. Notwithstanding some minor additions, the second edition represents essentially the state of the art of the first edition in 1857. Grammars of Marius Chaîne, Carlo Conti Rossini and Josef Tropper that came out later, have a decided character of teaching books. A new reference grammar that processes and comprises achievements in the field of linguistics of the last one and a half centuries is therefore overdue.

The intended elaborate grammar that is in becoming now, will be basically conceptualised synchronically but will comprise as well data that deviate from the handwritten classical aksumite standard. I aim to record textual quotations as well and want to pay attention to underlying rules of epigraphic Gəʾəz or of post classical texts and will put them in its context of linguistic history.

The grammar is supposed to be published in Porta Linguarum Orientalium – series of Harrassowitz publishing house (Wiesbaden).