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Adjectives as Nominal Heads in Basaá
Larry M. Hyman, Peter Jenks, and Emmanuel-Moselly Makasso
151-162 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


As in other Bantu languages, adjectives in Basaá (A43: Cameroon) exhibit nominal morphology, having inherent noun classes. Surprisingly, though, when these adjectives modify nouns, both the connective particle which introduces the noun (A of N) and and other adnominal modifiers in the noun phrase (demonstratives, possessives, numerals) agree with the adjective, e.g. mí-nlangá mí dí-nuní míní/*tíní 'these black birds' (lit. blacks-4, of-4, birds-13, these-4/*these-13). We claim that this phenomenon arises because the adjective is a nominal head which takes the noun as its complement. We argue that the connective which appears in this structure is a general property of N of N constructions in Basaá, including measure expressions (e.g. 'cup of coffee'). Under such a view, higher modifiers agree with the adjective rather than the noun due to its structural proximity.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Conference on African Linguistics: Linguistic Interfaces in African Languages
edited by lanik la Orie and Karen W. Sanders
Table of contents
Printed edition: $320.00