Evidentiality, Absolute Present and Factivity in Neo-Ethiopic Historiography
Languages of publication
Historiographical writings in the modern languages of Ethiopia - Amharic and Tigrinya - contain some special linguistic features not found usually in other genres of texts. These are in particular: the enclitic particle -ya in Tigrinya, and in Amharic, the use of the present perfect for marking the punctual present and of the factitive stem when referring to the Emperor. The particle -ya is used as a means of conveying evidentiality, i. e. the writer's own assessment of the epistemic validity of his statement. The present perfect is used in Amharic in royal proclamations, instead of the compound imperfect, to avoid ambiguity between present and future, inherent in the time range of the latter. The Amharic factitive stem serves as one of the means of enhancing royal superiority above all other humans by using verb forms which indicate that the Emperor makes others do things unworthy of himself.
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