Issues in noun classification and noun class assignment in Gjolay Eegimaa (Banjal) and other Jla languages

Serge Sagna


In his book on gender Corbett observes that establishing the number of genders or noun classes in a given language can be the subject of interminable dispute (1991: 145). Jla languages like Gjolaay Eegimaa (bqj, Atlantic, Niger-Congo) have noun class systems exhibiting irregular singular-plural matchings and complex agreement correspondences between controller nouns and their targets, resulting in endless disagreements among authors in Jla linguistics. This paper addresses the issues surrounding noun class assignment in Gjolaay Eegimaa (Eegimaa henceforth) and other Jla languages. It provides a critical evaluation of the noun class assignment criteria used for those languages and proposes cross-linguistic and language-specific diagnostic criteria to account for the noun class system of Eegimaa and other related languages that exhibit a similar system.


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