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Most Downloaded Articles
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- The causative/applicative syncretism in Mbuun (Bantu B87, DRC): Semantic split or phonemic merger? by Bostoen, Koen and Mundeke, Léon
- A formal analysis of the stative construction in Bantu by MCHOMBO, SAM A.
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What is a noun? What is an adjective? Problems of classification in Dagbani
Citation Information: Journal of African Languages and Linguistics. Volume 25, Issue 2, Pages 127–148, ISSN (Online) 1613-3811, ISSN (Print) 0167-6164, DOI: 10.1515/jall.2004.25.2.127, July 2005
- Published Online:
It is widely acknowledged that all languages have a class of adjectives that can be formally or functionally distinguished from other word classes. This article deals with the differences between nouns and adjectives in Dagbani, a Gur language spoken in Ghana. Remarkably, a three-way distinction is required in order to account for the different types. Specifically, Dagbani appears to have two classes whose members can take the functions typically assigned to adjectives. Their major role is to modify a noun, whereas nouns themselves cannot modify each other. The distinction between nouns and adjectives and between the two types of adjectives is based on morphological and syntactic factors: while Type A adjectives behave exactly like canonical nouns from a morphological point of view, Type B resemble loans in that they lack any kind of morphological complexity. However, on the syntactic level, Type B words are more similar to nouns than Type A are. This article investigates the relation between the three different word types and aims at an account of their classification.