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Share Paper 3129

Interspeaker Variation in Noun Class Realization in Medumba, a Grassfields Language
Nora Goldman, Will Orman, Elodie Paquette, Kathryn Franich, Rachel Hawkes, Ariane Ngabeu, and Catherine O'Connor
98-109 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


While it is often assumed that noun class systems naturally 'drift' towards simplification and loss, Good (2012) problematizes this by showing that parts of a noun class system can change or vanish and others will persist, leaving a surprisingly resilient and recognizable noun class system in place. In 1970, Hyman et al. described the leveling and loss of distinctions in some Bamileke languages of Cameroon (cf. also Voorhoeve 1968), predicting further loss in Bamileke languages. This paper presents an analysis of the current status of the noun class system of Medumba (byv), a Bamileke language within Eastern Grassfields, with over 200,000 speakers, examining both noun form pairs and concord markers, for 76 native words and 56 loan words. Two highly educated speakers of the Ndiba and Ngum dialects, bilingual in French and Medumba, were interviewed in Bangangté. The results indicate that the noun form and concord systems are operating independently, and that interspeaker consensus is higher for noun form marking than for concord morphology.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 44th Annual Conference on African Linguistics
edited by Ruth Kramer, Elizabeth C. Zsiga, and One Tlale Boyer
Table of contents
Printed edition: $320.00