The book provides a detailed analysis of verb classes and transitivity alternations in the Ethiosemitic language Amharic. It investigates the lexical-semantic and morphosyntactic properties of a number of constructions including causatives, passives, applicatives, and experiencer predicates.
The lexical semantic analysis of the verbs appeals to the theory of
Conceptual Semantics as developed by Ray Jackendoff. Thus, the study assumes a decompositional approach to the meaning of lexical items in which the meaning of a given lexical item is decomposed into smaller universal conceptual primitives. Each chapter begins with a succinct introduction of the Amharic data under investigation and a concise statement of the theoretically relevant issues.
Then the Amharic data is analysed within a cross-linguistic context in order to uncover deep and underlying grammatical properties. The book would interest theoretical and descriptive linguists studying the interface between lexical semantics and morphosyntax. As it explores the relationship between conceptual structure and language, the book would also be of interest to psycholinguists and researchers interested in the mental lexicon.