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Project: Eating and drinking – Preparing food in Ethiopian languages

Thoughts on the lexical semantics of verbs

Funded by the DFG (German Research Society)

Project Members:

  • † Prof. Dr. Hans-Jürgen Sasse (1. Project Supervisor)
  • Prof. Dr. Gerrit J. Dimmendaal (2. Project Supervisor)
  • Yvonne Treis, M.A. (research fellow)
  • Martina Ernszt (student assistant)


Some of the Ethiopian languages feature a surprisingly rich selection of verbs. Specialized monomorphematic verbs make it possible to describe situations in minute detail. The project aims to describe the lexicalization patterns underlying these verbs and how they interact with syntax in the semantic domains of eating, drinking and preparing food. Using the analysis of Kambaata (Cushitic) as a basis, the shared and individual semantic characteristics of verbs in four Ethiopian languages are compared. One objective of the project is to test the applicability of various semantic theories and models to the "geographical periphery". Another aim is to use the vantage point of lexical semantics to provide new insights on Cushitic languages and inspire further discussion of the Ethiopian Language Area. 


  • Treis, Yvonne (2006): "Das Verb ag- 'trinken' im Kambaata. Ein Beitrag zur Semantik einer kuschitischen Sprache Äthiopiens.", Afrikanistentag, 11-13 February 2006. Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität München.

External links:

Kambaata-Sprache und Hochlandostkuschitisch:

  • DFG project "Hochlandostkuschitisch" (Universität zu Köln)
  • "Wandel im Hochlandostkuschitischen"
    Project C.1 included in the Collaborative Research Centre 295 "Kulturelle und sprachliche Kontakte. Prozesse des Wandels in historischen Spannungsfeldern Nordostafrikas/Westasiens" ( Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität Mainz)
  • Ethnologue: Information about Kambaata
  • Adjectives in Kambaata [Type "Kambaata" in "choisissez une langue"]

Kambaata region: