Van de Velde, Mark (2019). Nominal morphology and syntax. In: Van de Velde, Mark; Koen Bostoen, Derek Nurse & Gérard Philippson (eds). The Bantu Languages, 2nd edition, London and New York: Routledge. p 237-269.


Prefinal version

One of the quintessential typological properties of the Bantu languages is their pervasive system of noun classes and noun class agreement. This is undoubtedly the aspect of their grammatical structure that is most discussed in the literature, if only because every grammar sketch of a Bantu language contains a section on noun classes. The most complete discussion can be found in Maho (1999). In contrast, the structure of the noun phrase has received little attention, which cannot be attributed to a lack of interesting features. This chapter briefly introduces aspects of the noun and noun phrase that are well studied, such as the noun class system and the different types of adnominal modifiers, and provides them with a reference. It also aims at filling some gaps in the literature. Section provides a first systematic overview of the types of semantic agreement that can be found in the Bantu languages. Section 3 is entirely dedicated to the augment, a pervasive element in the grammar of the Bantu languages, of which the last comparative study (De Blois 1970) was in need of an update. The typologically unusual word order patterns that can be found in the Bantu languages receive a first comparative analysis and diachronic explanation in Section 5.


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22 November 2019