Ethiopia seems to be an especially rieh source ofdisguised speechforms, which it seems useful, with some precedence, to term "argots". A number ofargots of Ethiopian Semitic languages, used by craft and ceremonial groups, were described by Leslau (1964), and an argot used especially by Oromo teenagers was recently described by Unseth (1990). Thispaper discusses an Amharic argot described by Teshome andBender (1983), which ispresently used byfemale bar-hosts in Addis Ababa, who employ it to exchange comments to each other without being understood by clients. After briefreview ofthe datat this paper provides interpretations ofthe evidence ofthe argot on sevenpoints of Amharic and theoretical phonology. Some ofthese interpretations contrast with those ofMcCarthy (1984,1986), also based upon Teshome and Bender's data. Also, l argue that the argot is probably influenced by the so-called Gurage contact-languages of Amharic in Ethiopia. 1. Data Teshome and Bender's data consist of 83 argot words and 17 argot sentences in which thirty of the 83 words appear with various of the verb forms. The argot employs a special, all-purpose, verb glossable äs 'do', which forms stems and takes Amharic verbal affixes quite like an Amharic verb, and adapts other Amharic and English words, or roots underlying
Journal of African Languages and Linguistics – de Gruyter
Published: Jan 1, 1993
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