Edited by Mauro Tosco
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 339] 2018
► pp. 153–165
Insubordination in Modern South Arabian
A common isogloss with Ethiosemitic?
The term ‘insubordination’ is used to describe the case of a subordinate verb becoming the main verb of a sentence. In Modern South Arabian (MSA) a relative verb without an antecedent may act as the finite verb of an independent sentence. The MSA main relative verb is analyzed as the equivalent of an active participle together with copula zero, which leads to a comparison with Amharic and other modern Ethiosemitic (ES) languages in which a relative verb, followed by the copula – mandatory in these languages – is often used as the main predicate. After a review of the main points of convergence between modern ES and MSA in general, the function of the ES relative, plus copula, is analyzed as static predication as opposed to the dynamic predication of the ordinary verb. It appears in introductory passages of a literary text where the characteristics of the main character are presented.