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Title: Comprehension studies in simple and complex Amharic sentences
Author: Cotterell, Francis Peter
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1969
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Amharic is a Semitic language which is characterized in its syntax by subordination and in its morphology by synthesis. Four different investigations are described which attempt to identify areas of difficulty of comprehension experienced by Ethiopians in the use of Amharic. Comprehension may be defined in terms of the ability to comprehend and to retain the information conveyed by a sentence, as ability to perceive and project grammatical structure in the context of an incomplete sentence, and as the ability to generate a sentence of specified structure by a process of translation. The testing procedures examine these concepts of comprehension, particular attention is given to the influence on comprehension of sentence length, sentence type, information load and sentence structure, and to the conditions under which the pendent nominative appears. It is concluded that although such features as sentence length, information load and sentence type may adversely affect sentence comprehension the decisive influence is that of sentence structure. The feature of suspense is identified as a specific factor inhibiting comprehension. The study also suggests that there is, at present, a decided preference for the simple verbal form rather than the compound form, a preference which is not to be attributed to lack of ability in Amharic.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral