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

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences | Department of Asian and African Studies | Regional Departments | African Studies | Events | Upcoming Events | 27.04. Colloquium of African linguistics: Animacy-based noun classification in Central Africa (Güldemann)

27.04. Colloquium of African linguistics: Animacy-based noun classification in Central Africa (Güldemann)

“From differential grammatical treatment to gender: animacy-based noun classification in Central Africa and its typological significance” - Talk by Tom Güldemann (HU Berlin) given within the digital colloquium of African linguistics and languages
  • When Apr 27, 2021 from 04:15 to 05:45 (Europe/Berlin / UTC200)
  • Where via Zoom
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While investigating the linguistic diversity of the Ituri rainforest in Central Africa, Schebesta (e.g., 1952) and Vorbichler (e.g., 1963) observed that several languages of this zone display grammatical traits reflecting a categorization of nouns according to a ±animate distinction. However, only few languages of the area have been described explicitly to possess an overt animacy-based gender system. Based on a wider survey of Central African languages, I show that this is because they tend to implement noun categorization grammatically in a far more extensive sphere of language structure that concerns behavioral properties of nouns. These can but need not lead eventually to full-grown gender systems. The cross-linguistic picture of noun classification in the area is thus not only relevant for African linguistics but also informs the general question of how gender systems emerge and develop.

 

- Please contact Christfried Naumann for access information -