In this paper, we propose a reassessment of Wolof noun morphology and morphosyntax. Wolof is usually said to possess a total of 10 noun classes (8 for the singular, 2 for the plural), marked today exclusively on agreement targets. We provide evidence that two more plural noun classes must be recognized, which have so far been misinterpreted as ?collective? rather than plural: the evidence we provide is morphosyntactic (from verb agreement) as well as morphological (from class-related asymmetries in the paradigm of the indefinite article). As for method, the main thrust of the paper consists in showing that an accurate analysis of the Wolof data must make use of the three distinct notions ?noun class?, ?inflectional class? and ?agreement class? (or gender). Under the analysis defended here, Wolof turns out to have a fairly complex gender system, featuring 17 distinct gender values. Our analysis ? and especially the discussion of Wolof so-called ?collectives? ? also bears on the general theoretical issue of how to establish the values of the number category.

Noun classes and grammatical gender in Wolof

Loporcaro, Michele
2016

Abstract

In this paper, we propose a reassessment of Wolof noun morphology and morphosyntax. Wolof is usually said to possess a total of 10 noun classes (8 for the singular, 2 for the plural), marked today exclusively on agreement targets. We provide evidence that two more plural noun classes must be recognized, which have so far been misinterpreted as ?collective? rather than plural: the evidence we provide is morphosyntactic (from verb agreement) as well as morphological (from class-related asymmetries in the paradigm of the indefinite article). As for method, the main thrust of the paper consists in showing that an accurate analysis of the Wolof data must make use of the three distinct notions ?noun class?, ?inflectional class? and ?agreement class? (or gender). Under the analysis defended here, Wolof turns out to have a fairly complex gender system, featuring 17 distinct gender values. Our analysis ? and especially the discussion of Wolof so-called ?collectives? ? also bears on the general theoretical issue of how to establish the values of the number category.
2016
Settore L-LIN/01 - Glottologia e Linguistica
Noun classes; grammatical gender; Niger-Congo; Atlantic languages; (ir)regularity; collective; defectiveness
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
208_Babou_Loporcaro_Noun classes Wolof2016.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Published version
Licenza: Solo Lettura
Dimensione 3.42 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
3.42 MB Adobe PDF

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11384/128326
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 14
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 10
social impact