Title
Multifunctional agreement patterns in Bantu and the possibility of genderless nouns Multifunctional agreement patterns in Bantu and the possibility of genderless nouns
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Arts. Linguistics and Literature
Publication type
article
Publication
Berlin ,
Subject
Linguistics
Source (journal)
Linguistic typology. - Berlin
Volume/pages
10(2006) :2 , p. 183-221
ISSN
1430-0532
vabb
c:vabb:151456
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
It is generally assumed that all nouns belong to a gender in gender languages and that this constitutes a fundamental difference between gender systems and systems of noun classifiers. An analysis of gender and agreement in the Cameroonian Bantu language Eton challenges this assumption. Gender assignment cannot be predicted on semantic grounds in Eton, except for proper names and deictic kinship terms. Although these nouns trigger the same agreement pattern as nouns of gender 1, their behaviour differs too much from the other nouns for them to be analysed as gender 1 words. It is argued that they form the core of a set of genderless nouns. The agreement pattern they trigger is a multifunctional one: it marks agreement with gender 1 words and with genderless words. It will be shown that multifunctionality is a typical characteristic of agreement patterns in Bantu.
Handle