Differential Case Marking of Arguments in Amharic

Mengistu Amberber

in The Oxford Handbook of Case

Published in print November 2008 | ISBN: 9780199206476
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

Differential Case Marking of Arguments in Amharic

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  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology



This article examines the case and agreement systems of Amharic with particular reference to the phenomena of differential subject marking (DSM) and differential object marking (DOM). It discusses two interrelated issues: the semantic factors that may be relevant to DSM and DOM, and the interaction between DSM/DOM and agreement on the verb. First, the article provides a brief typological and genetic background of the Amharic language and then establishes the presence of the grammatical relations subject and direct object on the basis of language-internal formal evidence. It also considers word order in Amharic, the accusative suffix -n, the distribution of the object/indirect object agreement suffix, the quirky (non-canonical) case marking of certain subjects, and experience predicates.

Keywords: Amharic; case; differential subject marking; differential object marking; case marking; subjects; direct object; word order; grammatical relations; predicates

Article.  3835 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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