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Title: Nominal classification and verbal nouns in Baïnounk Gubëeher
Authors: Cobbinah, Alexander Yao
Keywords: African Languages
Niger-Congo Languages
Atlantic-Congo Languages
Baïnounk Gubëeher
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: School of Oriental and African Studies, London
Abstract: The complex noun class system of Baïnounk Gubëeher, a hitherto undescribed minority language whose speakers are concentrated in Djibonker, Casamance/Senegal, combines a very large number of prefixes and a plural suffix, which occur in paradigms, conveying number and configurational information. The choice of the paradigm as basic unit of analysis as pursued here provides a new perspective on noun class systems. A detailed description of the paradigms attested in Gubëeher, including their semantic contribution to the nouns they derive from roots are the main concern of this thesis. The systematic aspects of how the paradigms are employed in Gubëeher are highly relevant in this context. Their role in deriving several nouns from one root and the resulting systematic semantic shifts, which are clearly attributable to the paradigm, receive special attention. Another focus lies on the use of the noun class prefixes for the systematic derivation of several types of verbal nouns from eventive roots, most importantly those used as verbal complements (infinitives). In this context the distribution of infinitives derived with several noun class markers from one root ‒ an unexplained and underdescribed areal phenomenon observable in several Casamance languages ‒ is considered in detail. Transitivity and valency are shown to be relevant parameters in infinitive selection.
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