Your email address will not be published. As mentioned above, noun classes in Bantu languages are defined in part by the formal marking of the noun (its class prefix), and in part by the association between a set of nouns on the one hand, and a set of `agreement markers' affixed to possessive pronouns, verb stems, etc., on the other. In names for familiar relatives, where both genders are taken into account, either the words for each gender are put together ("son": seme; "daughter": alaba; "children"(meaning son(s) and daughter(s)): seme-alaba(k)) or there is a noun that includes both: "father": aita; "mother": ama; "parent": guraso. All living things, as well as sacred things and things connected to the Earth are considered powerful and belong to the animate class. In particular the idea that noun classes, (1998), Global map and discussion of languages by type of noun class at, This page was last edited on 5 January 2021, at 01:54. Required fields are marked *, Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. … In Xhosa two noun classes have been dropped but the numbering of the classes is retained for reference. Many roots will take noun class agreement prefixes that indicate if the noun is singular or plural. Some sources argue that the distinction is between things which are powerful and things which are not. The area in which Bantu languages are spoken is shown in beige on the map below. As this was my final semester of my undergraduate studies, I completed the capstone for the Linguistics major. The word Bantu for the language families and its speakers is an artificial term based on the reconstructed Proto-Ntu term for “people” or “humans”. According to Steven Pinker, the Kivunjo language has 16 noun classes including classes for precise locations and for general locales, classes for clusters or pairs of objects and classes for the objects that come in pairs or clusters, and classes for abstract qualities.[3]. Mar. The Diyari language distinguishes only between female and other objects. Noun classes are believed to have historically have been classified according to a semantic criteria, such as grouping nouns which are animate, inanimate, abstract and so on and so forth, these such classifications are shown in Proto … Its prefix is a homorganic nasal, realized as m, n, or ny depending on the first consonant of the root. Jan. 1984: Zero-Derivation and Inflection. Prefix. Like Navajo, it has classificatory verb stems that classify nouns according to animacy, shape, and consistency. Shape is divided into extended, curved, non-extended, etc. The Ojibwe language and other members of the Algonquian languages distinguish between animate and inanimate classes. Guthrie reconstructed both the phonemic inventory and the vocabulary of Proto-Bantu. In the men's dialect, the classes for men and for masculine things have simplified to a single class, marked the same way as the women's dialect marker reserved exclusively for men.[2]. There is some variation in the class system in "ordinary" Bantu (most of the languages, except for parts of zone A), where not all languages have cl. However, most analysis of Bantu noun class semantics thus far has been conducted on a very narrow sample of these languages, primarily focusing on widely-spoken languages like Swahili. Irvine Richardson, 1967: ‘Linguistic evolution and Bantu noun class systems’ This study, which Richardson presented at an international colloquium in Aix-en-Provence on ‘La classification nominale dans les langues Négro-Africaines’, focuses on Kinyarwanda uses 16 of the Bantu noun classes. You are probably familiar with the feminine/masculine gender system in Romance languages. There are two main theories regarding the development of noun class systems: one, proposed by Malcolm Guthrie in 1967, argues for semantically arbitrary noun classes determined only by grammatical and morphological criteria. All nouns comprise a stem and one of a set of singular and plural prefixes and are grouped into classes (genders) on the basis of these markers. If one follows broader linguistic tradition and counts singular and plural as belonging to the same class, then Swahili has 8 or 9 noun classes, Sotho has 11 and Ganda has 10. The Ojibwe language and other members of the Algonquian languages distinguish between animate and inanimate classes. The table below shows the 16 noun classes and how they are paired in two commonly used systems. Sometimes these are grouped into 10 pairs so that most singular and plural forms of the same word are included in the same class. The Zande language distinguishes four noun classes:[5]. For instance, in Ring and View/ Open. Some languages have only two classes, whereas Bats has eight. Class. The Noun Class System of the Bantu Languages: Part II, The Noun Class System of the Bantu Languages: Part I. For instance, in Swahili the word rafiki ‘friend’ belongs to the class 9 and its "plural form" is marafiki of the class 6, even if most nouns of the 9 class have the plural of the class 10. Still, the assignment is somewhat arbitrary, as "raspberry" is animate, but "strawberry" is inanimate. In Navajo (Southern Athabaskan) nouns are classified according to their animacy, shape, and consistency. (These nouns are still placed in a neuter gender of their own by some grammarians.). 20 gʊ and most don't have cl. 1 1) Jerro, Kyle Joseph. Many of the exceptions have a round shape, and some can be explained by the role they play in Zande mythology. The category of nominal class replaces not only the category of gender, but also the categories of number and case. The concept of noun classes is similar, except while Romance languages have 2-3 genders, Bantu languages can have up to 23 noun classes! While no single language is known to express all of them, most of them have at least 10 noun classes. Some sources argue that the distinction is between things which are powerful and things which are not. Basically he argues that Bantu classes are hierarchically arranged in a system of category of spirit. All living things, as well as sacred things and things connected to the Earth are considered powerful and belong to the animate class. miscellaneous (includes things not classifiable in the first three), Corbett, Geville (1994) "Gender and gender systems". https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Noun_class&oldid=998367130, Articles needing additional references from October 2019, All articles needing additional references, Articles needing examples from October 2019, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, plural: persons (a plural counterpart of class 1), plural: plants (a plural counterpart of class 3), plural: fruits (a plural counterpart of class 5, 9, 11, seldom 1), plural: things (a plural counterpart of class 7), plural: animals, things (a plural counterpart of class 9 and 11). The Fula language has about 26 noun classes (the exact number varies slightly by dialect). While no single language is known to express all of them, most of them have at least 10 noun classes. 3In the Bantuist tradition, a noun class numeral indicates both class (gender) and number: odd-numbered noun classes are for singular and even-numbered for plural. In linguistics, a noun class is a particular category of nouns. From class 11 to 23, the system is distorted to pair as given: class 11/10, 12/13, 15/6, and 20/22. : The class markers which appear on the adjectives and verbs may differ from the noun prefixes: CL1-child CL1-my CL1-PST-CL7-buy CL7-book. Additionally, there are polyplural noun classes. Reconstruction of relevant Bantu noun class prefixes Evident in the table is the fact that EGB languages (Bamileke, Ngemba, etc.) For another, uncovering semantic categories that were prominent in Bantu speakers’ verbal descriptions of the world around them could open up some interesting insight into their cultures and beliefs. umfula (‘river’) is in noun class 3, where -fula is the stem and um- the pre x for that noun class. Zulu nouns, like nouns in other Bantu languages, are divided into noun classes. ... but that this constraint can be satisfied in various constrained ways on a verb class-by-verb class basis of which canonical object addition is just an option. The labels used in this chapter (mostly reproduced from Creissels & Pozdniakov The Semantics of Noun Classes in Proto-Bantu . Author. There are 556 documented Bantu languages divided into 7 subgroups of varying sizes. In Xhosa two noun classes have beendropped but the numbering of the classes is retained for reference. Class prefixes appear also on adjectives and verbs, e.g. This seems to them to be inconsistent with the way other languages are traditionally considered, where number is orthogonal to gender (according to the critics, a Meinhof-style analysis would give Ancient Greek 9 genders). For one thing, understanding the noun class system of Proto-Bantu can give us clues to how Bantu languages, and their associated ethnic groups, have migrated, merged, and diverged over time. The concept of noun classes is similar, except while Romance languages have 2-3 genders, Bantu languages can have up to 23 noun classes! While no single language is known to express all of them, most of them have at least 10 noun classes. Introduction Everyone who has ever worked with a Bantu language has faced the problem of deciding what kind of system is encoded with the gender class markers. Classes 16-18 had no actual words. According to Carl Meinhof, the Bantu languages have a total of 22 noun classes called nominal classes (this notion was introduced by W.H.J. En R. Asher (ed. For this reason Ganda linguists use the orthogonal numbering system when discussing Ganda grammar (other than in the context of Bantu comparative linguistics), giving the 10 traditional noun classes of that language. A noun may belong to a given class because of the characteristic features of its referent, such as gender, animacy, shape, but such designations are often clearly conventional. Genders are then considered a sub-class of noun classes. Here is a complete list of nominal classes in Swahili: "Ø-" means no prefix. Bantu noun classes tend to come in pairs. In languages without inflectional noun classes, nouns may still be extensively categorized by independent particles called noun classifiers. En J. H. Greenberg et al. 2006) provides the following examples from Nyungwe. Perhaps the most noun classes in any Australian language are found in Yanyuwa, which has 16 noun classes, including nouns associated with food, trees and abstractions, in addition to separate classes for men and masculine things, women and feminine things. The Meinhof numbering tends to be used in scientific works dealing with comparisons of different Bantu languages. G. Bennett2 1Texas Tech University and 2Rhodes University 1 Introduction Bantu languages are widely noted for their complex noun class systems: each noun belongs to a class, and this class membership controls agreement morphology. 2006) provides the following examples from Nyungwe. 1. 9 and 10). Classes 3-4 for plants, trees and natural phenomena. According to Carl Meinhof, the Bantu languages have a total of 22 noun classes called nominal classes (this notion was introduced by W.H.J. Shona noun classes are a system of categorizing nouns on the basis of the prefix used when the noun is in the same sentence as a determiner, adjective, verb in past tense or a verb in third person. Noun classes are similar in concept to grammatical gender in many European languages, as the noun class determines how other words are inflected in concordance with the noun. The Bantu languages, spoken across the southern half of Africa, comprise a subgroup of the Niger-Congo language family. Classes 7-8 were heterogeneous. Not all linguists recognize a distinction between noun-classes and genders, however, and instead use either the term "gender" or "noun class" for both. Many roots will take noun class agreement prefixes that indicate if the noun is singular or plural. For example, by Meinhof's numbering, Shona has 20 classes, Swahili has 15, Sotho has 18 and Ganda has 17. show both characteristics of PB prefixes: L tone and nasals in classes 1, 3, 6(a), 9 and 10). Classes 6 and 10 are inherited as polyplural classes by most surviving Bantu languages, but many languages have developed new polyplural classes that are not widely shared by other languages. Noun classes are believed to have historically have been classified according to a semantic criteria, such as grouping nouns which are animate, inanimate, abstract and so on and so forth, these such classifications are shown in Proto … The most widespread system, however, has four classes: male, female, animate beings and certain objects, and finally a class for the remaining nouns. The Andi language has a noun class reserved for insects. However, in addition to these verb stems, Koyukon verbs have what are called "gender prefixes" that further classify nouns. Certain nominal classes are reserved for humans. Some members of the Northwest Caucasian family, and almost all of the Northeast Caucasian languages, manifest noun class. For RR and Luganda, classes 1 to 10 pair up as 1/2, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8, and 9/10 to form singular and plural forms respectively. Originally, Bantu languages had over 20 noun categories. Among Northwest Caucasian languages, only Abkhaz and Abaza have noun class, making use of a human male/human female/non-human distinction. The Anindilyakwa language has a noun class for things that reflect light. In all Caucasian languages that manifest class, it is not marked on the noun itself but on the dependent verbs, adjectives, pronouns and prepositions. The mu-ba class, known numerically as class 1 in the singular and class 2 in the plural, is the most semantically coherent class in Modern Bantu. Noun Prefix System. Bleek). When noun class is expressed on other parts of speech in addition to nouns and pronouns, the language is said to have grammatical gender. There is no gender distinction. Also widely known are the tendencies for Some Bantu languages such as Venda that express variations in size and shape as well as the emotive perception by means of suffixes, or by a combination of prefixes and suffixes Proto-Bantu, like its descendants, had an elaborate system of noun classes. The syntax and semantics of applicative morphology in Bantu. The travels of a girl and her 3D-printed friend. Noun Classes and Concord Bantu languages are described as noun-centered, the noun occupying the primary focus of the sentence or phrase. A few nouns also exhibit vestigial noun classes, such as stewardess, where the suffix -ess added to steward denotes a female person. The class of a noun is signalled by. Some classes are homonymous (esp. Nouns are divided somewhat arbitrarily between these classes, although a few of them contain nouns which mostly fall into clear categories. ), The Ngangikurrunggurr language has noun classes reserved for canines and hunting weapons. While no single language is known to express all of them, most of them have at least 10 noun classes. Similar to all Bantu languages, Runyakitara has a noun class system. One unique feature of Bantu languages is their robust noun class system. Bantu languages are hypothesized to have descended from one mother language, Proto-Bantu. Ohly, R., Kraska-Szlenk, i., Podobińska, Z. Proto-Bantu had nineteen classes which in Swahili have been reduced to fifteen. While the grammatical structure of the Proto-Bantu noun class system is well-defined, any semantic basis is hazy at best. Bleek). There are about 80 inanimate nouns which are in the animate class, including nouns denoting heavenly objects (moon, rainbow), metal objects (hammer, ring), edible plants (sweet potato, pea), and non-metallic objects (whistle, ball). Most words in a Bantu sentence are marked by a prefix indicating the category to which the noun used as the subject of the sentence belongs, and, if there is an object, the words in that noun phrase and the verb are also marked by a prefix determined by the noun class of the object. 20 gʊ and most don't have cl. While the grammatical structure of the Proto-Bantu noun class … Critics of the Meinhof's approach notice that his numbering system of nominal classes counts singular and plural numbers of the same noun as belonging to separate classes. For my capstone paper, I chose to undertake a data-based analysis of noun class semantics in Bantu languages. Noun classes should not be confused with noun classifiers. Classes 5-6 for objects that come in pairs or larger groups. Table 1. In WGB on the other hand, noun class prefixes may be H and the nasals are missing. Italian, for example, has a group of nouns deriving from Latin neuter nouns that acts as masculine in the singular but feminine in the plural: il braccio/le braccia; l'uovo/le uova. Class 11 for extended body parts. According to Carl Meinhof, the Bantu languages have a total of 22 noun classes called nominal classes (this notion was introduced by W. H. J. Bleek). A polyplural noun class is a plural class for more than one singular class. Some authors use the term "grammatical gender" as a synonym of "noun class", but others consider these different concepts. Bantu noun classes tend to come in pairs. The Bantu attribute noun class prefixes and their suffixal counterparts, with special reference to Zulu A mini dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree Magister Artium: IsiZulu (course work) in the Department of African Languages at the UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA by LINKIE MOHLALA Supervisor: Prof R Gauton Classes 1 and 2 are used for human-denoting nouns (and pronouns), class 1 for singular and class 2 for plural. Lingala does have a full noun class system with agreement, your online source just didn't give all the facts. Specialists in Bantu emphasize that there is a clear difference between genders (such as known from Afro-Asiatic and Indo-European) and nominal classes (such as known from Niger–Congo). The distinction between genders and nominal classes is blurred still further by Indo-European languages that have nouns that behave like Swahili's rafiki. The term gender, as used by some linguists, refers to a noun-class system composed with 2, 3, or 4 classes, particularly if the classification is semantically based on a distinction between masculine and feminine. Most words in a Bantu sentence are marked by a prefix indicating the category to which the noun used as the subject of the sentence belongs, and, if there is an object, the words in that noun phrase and the verb are also marked by a prefix determined by the noun class of the object. A noun in a given class may require: In Modern English, countable and uncountable nouns are distinguished by the choice of many/much. Your email address will not be published. Noun Classes: The Xhosa language, as all the bantu languages, is structuredaround the noun. The Proto-Bantu class 12 disappeared in Swahili, class 13 merged with 7, and 14 with 11. 1. Each class is given a number corresponding to the same equivalent class in other Bantu languages. GRANTS AND FELLOWSHIPS For example, in the sentence Shi’éé’ tsásk’eh bikáa’gi dah siłtsooz "My shirt is lying on the bed", the verb siłtsooz "lies" is used because the subject shi’éé’ "my shirt" is a flat, flexible object. Each class is given a number corresponding to the same equivalent class in other Bantu languages. Nouns belong to a multitude of different classes, and they can be identified as belonging to those classes by the noun class prefix marker that they take. The noun belonging to a given class may imply that all noun phrase … Noun stems were prefixed with a noun prefix to specify their meaning. Further, these noun classes are not only expressed on nouns and adjectives, but also on verbs, prepositions, and more. Because the classes defined by these classifying words are not generally distinguished in other contexts, there are many linguists who take the view that they do not create noun classes. According to Carl Meinhof, the Bantu languages have a total of 22 noun classes called nominal classes (this notion was introduced by W. H. J. Bleek). • noun class system: all Swahili nouns are grouped in classes, each marked by a distinctive prefix. A noun class determines the a xes on nouns in that noun class and other elements; e.g. (This inspired the title of the George Lakoff book Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things. In this example, the verbal prefix a- and the pronominal prefix wa- are in concordance with the noun prefix m-: they all express class 1 despite of their different forms. According to Carl Meinhof, the Bantu languages have a total of 22 noun classes called nominal classes (this notion was introduced by W. H. J. Bleek). Still, the assignment is somewhat arbitrary, as "raspberry" is animate, but "strawberry" is inanimate. For example, David Ker (p.c. the noun classes of Bantu languages, since such a system relies on the possibility of identifying the noun classes found in present-day languages as reflexes of reconstructed classes, which in the Atlantic context is only possible to a relatively limited extent. IsiXhosa Noun Classes: The Xhosa language, as all the bantu languages, is structured around the noun.There are 15 noun classes in the bantu languages. Common criteria that define noun classes include: See Swahili for the semantic motivations for an elaborate noun-class system. Noun class system. a class-specific word in the noun phrase. Sesotho, like all other Bantu languages, uses a set of "noun classes" and each noun belongs to one of the classes. The 19 noun classes of Proto-Bantu were: Classes 1-2 for people. That is, Koyukon has two different systems that classify nouns: (a) a classificatory verb system and (b) a gender system. It is unique in that its prefix does not change for singular and plural, though verbs and other parts of speech do inflect differently. I … particular classes of nouns, in linguistics, List of languages by type of noun classification, sfn error: no target: CITEREFCorbett1991 (, Learn how and when to remove this template message, List of languages by type of grammatical genders, "Remarks on a few "polyplural" classes in Bantu", Noun classes and categorization: Proceedings of a symposium on categorization and noun classification. Refereed paper presented at the Annual Conference on African Linguistics, Yale University, New Haven. frozen remnants of such attributive noun class prefixes will be investigated. The N Class, known as classes 9 and 10, is the largest class in Modern Bantu. However not all Bantu languages have these exceptions. Atlantic–Congo languages can have ten or more noun classes, defined according to non-sexual criteria. Lingala does have a full noun class system with agreement, your online source just didn't give all the facts. You are probably familiar with the feminine/masculine gender system in Romance languages. Because there is no verb conjugation, but instead verb construction, the noun classes tend to be the most difficult part of the language. While no single language is known to express all of them, most of them have at least 10 noun classes. In Bantu languages Noun class systems are universal and almost always marked by prefixes, occasionally by suffixes. … Some languages, such as Japanese, Chinese and the Tai languages, have elaborate systems of particles that go with nouns based on shape and function, but are free morphemes rather than affixes. When -tonh is combined with different gender prefixes, it can result in daaltonh which refers to objects enclosed in boxes or etltonh which refers to objects enclosed in bags. Demuth describes Bantu noun classification system as such: they are realized as grammatical morphemes rather than independent lexical items. There are three main ways by which natural languages categorize nouns into noun classes: Usually, a combination of the three types of criteria is used, though one is more prevalent. Noun classes form a system of grammatical agreement. For example, David Ker (p.c. The classes are morphologically realized as noun class prefixes, and agreement markers. In my next post, I will explain how I looked at modern Bantu languages to develop hypotheses about Proto-Bantu noun class semantics. Why is this important? Nouns are put into noun classes (categories) based on their prefixes. While I don’t address this social analysis in my research, it would be a fascinating follow-up to my work for an anthropologist to undertake. Noun classes. according to similarities in their meaning (semantic criterion); by grouping them with other nouns that have similar form (morphology); a special form of pronoun to replace the noun. In the Northeast Caucasian family, only Lezgian, Udi, and Aghul do not have noun classes. Bantu noun classes normally group into 10 or more singular/plural pairings. (a) a pair of prefixes attached to the nominal stem, one for singular, one for plural; ), Greenberg, J. H. (1978) "How does a language acquire gender markers?". Like all Bantu languages, Lingala has a noun class system in which nouns are classified according to the prefixes they bear and according to the prefixes they trigger in sentences. Noun classes are similar in concept to grammatical gender in many European languages, as the noun class determines how other words are inflected in concordance with the noun. It was first introduced (as Bâ-ntu) by Wilhelm Bleek in 1857 or 1858 and popularised in his Comparative Grammar of 1862. 2.1. 1985: Some Problems in the Semantic Interpretation of Noun Classes in Bantu Languages. Each noun class Zulu, for example, has… Noun classes. For example, by Meinhof’s numbering, Shona has 20 classes, Swahili has 15, Sotho has 18 and Ganda has 17. Bantu languages are characterised by a comprehensive noun class and con-cordial agreement system among terms. The choice between the relative pronoun who (persons) and which (non-persons) may also be considered a form of agreement with a semantic noun class. The other, proposed by Denny and Creider in 1976, presents a possible semantic hierarchy for Bantu noun classes. Chet A. Creider and J. Peter Denny University of Western Ontario . Further, these noun classes are not only expressed on nouns and adjectives, but also on verbs, prepositions, and more. Morphologically, however, the distinctions are not expressed on the nouns themselves, but on the verbs of which the nouns are the subject or direct object. (eds.). The table below shows the noun classes of Lingala, ordered according to the numbering system that is widely used in descriptions of Bantu languages. Refereed paper presented at the Workshop on Morphology, MIT, Cambridge. In Basque there are two classes, animate and inanimate; however, the only difference is in the declension of locative cases (inessive, locative genitive, allative, terminal allative, ablative and directional ablative). Other words that related or referred to that noun, such as adjectives and verbs, also received a prefix that matched the class of the noun ("agreement" or "concord"). JERRO-DISSERTATION-2016.pdf (1.120Mb) Date 2016-05. To illustrate, the verb stem -tonh is used for enclosed objects. It refers exclusively to people, though not all nouns that have human referents are placed in this class: This post and the following one will summarize my research on this topic. [4] For example, Proto-Bantu class 10 contains plurals of class 9 nouns and class 11 nouns, while class 6 contains plurals of class 5 nouns and class 15 nouns. Outline of the Swahili noun class system. Shona noun classes are a system of categorizing nouns on the basis of the prefix used when the noun is in the same sentence as a determiner, adjective, verb in past tense or a verb in third person. Languages with nominal classes divide nouns formally on the base of hyperonymic meanings. Koyukon (Northern Athabaskan) has a more intricate system of classification. Classes 9-10 included animals and miscellanea. Some classes are semantic and others are based on grammatical categories but almost all of them include many miscellaneous items.