The Gutturals in North Argobba: an Etymological Evaluation
North Argobba is a South Ethio-Semitic idiom used by Argobba communities in the villages of Shonke and T’ollaha (Oromiya zone of Amhara region of Ethiopia). One of the most striking features of North Argobba is the presence of the gutturals ʔ, ʕ, h, and ḥ as distinct phonemes. While the importance of this feature has been immediately recognized by the linguists, it was also observed that not all examples of gutturals are etymologically correct. The present work provides a systematic evaluation of the sources for the North Argobba guttural phonemes ʔ, ʕ, h, ḥ. It demonstrates that these phonemes are reflexes of Proto-Ethio-Semitic gutturals with the same value, although the original picture is to some extent blurred by various phonological processes. The data of North Argobba are thus of considerable value for the phonological reconstruction of the Proto-Ethio-Semitic roots.