Number and animacy in the Teke noun class system.


In this paper, we trace the development of Proto-Bantu noun classes into Teke (Bantu B71, Ewo dialect), showing that formal reflexes of classes 1, 2, 5–9, and 14 are detectable. We further show that animacy, abstractness, and number allow us to determine the fate of classes 3, 4, 10, 11 and identify the following singular/plural genders: 1/2 (animate <PB 1/2, some 9/10), 1/8 (inanimate, <PB 3/4), 14/8 (abstract, <PB 14/8), 5/6 (<PB 5/6), 5/9 (<PB 11/10, with 10>9 merger), 7/8 (<PB 7/8), and 9/6 (<PB 9/6). Such reassignments provide a window into probing parallel noun class changes in other Northwest Bantu and Niger-Congo in general.

Larry M. Hyman
Florian A. J. Lionnet
Christophère Ngolele
Publication date: 
January 1, 2019
Publication type: 
Recent Publication
Hyman, L. M., Lionnet, F. & Ngolele, C. (2019). Number and animacy in the Teke noun class system. In S. Lotven et al (eds), African linguistics across disciplines: Selected papers from the 48th Annual Conference on African Linguistics, 89-102. Berlin: Language Science Press.