Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Institute of Asian and African Studies

17.11. Colloquium on African linguistics: Gender and deriflection in Abesabesi (Lau)

"Gender and deriflection in Abesabesi" - Talk by Jonas Lau (Universität Köln) given within the digital colloquium on African linguistics and languages
  • When Nov 17, 2020 from 04:15 to 05:45
  • Where via Zoom
  • iCal

Like many of its neighbors, Abesabesi (better known as Akpes, ISO-639-3:ibe), a Niger-Congo language of South-West Nigeria, only exhibits remnants of a productive noun class system. Nominal vowel-prefixes merely allow for a historical analysis as noun class prefixes. Only human nouns with an initial /O/ change their vowel-prefix to mark plural. Agreement, on the other hand, exhibits a real four-way distinction of singular/plural and human/non-human. Pronouns distinguish singular from plural and human from non-human, and nominal modifiers change their initial vowels to agree in plural. This presentation will show that the classic concept of noun classes is not very helpful to describe the morphology of nouns and nominal modifiers in Abesabesi. Nominal form classes and agreement classes will be investigated separately following the methodological approach of Güldemann and Fiedler (2019).


Güldemann, T., & Fiedler, I. (2019). Niger-Congo ”noun classes” conflate gender with deriflection. In Grammatical gender and linguistic complexity: Volume i: General issues and specific studies (Vol. I, pp. 95–145). Berlin: Language Science Press. doi: 10.5281/zenodo.3462762


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