Number in South-Bauchi-West Languages

Abstract : South-Bauchi West Chadic (SBW) languages, spoken in northern Nigeria, do not possess grammatical gender or nominal classes and as a rule, few nouns form a plural (morpho-lexical plural). The plural inside the NP is expressed through the noun modifiers. There is no agreement between the verb and its arguments. However, plurality appears in the verb phrase in two places: (i) the formation of the imperatives (ii) a verbal derivation forming what has come to be called, since Newman 1990, 'pluractionals'. The South sub-group (Zeem, Dass, Saya) differs in that it has developed a set of noun plurals through the use of various morphological devices, but most commonly, a -(Vn)sə suffix. This paper presents first the situation of noun plurals in the northern sub-group (Geji, Polci) which is then contrasted with the situation in the southern sub-group (Zeem, Dass, Saya). Finally verbal plurals, and the problem of the variation of the 2nd person in SBW languages are given a detailed study. The conclusion stresses the originality of southern SBW languages (Saya cluster) and raises the possibility that Pelu and Diir may have developed a subject agreement in the plural.
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Bernard Caron. Number in South-Bauchi-West Languages. Number in Africa and Beyond: Grammar, Semantics and Social Deixis., Sep 2011, Cologne, Germany. ⟨halshs-00645133⟩

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