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The gender system of Noon: insights into the reorganization of agreement

  • John T. M. Merrill EMAIL logo and Viktoria Apel EMAIL logo


This chapter examines the gender and deriflection systems of the Noon language of Senegal. The Noon deriflection system is notable for exhibiting a high number of unprefixed nouns, in contrast with the pervasive gender system characterized by prefixes on a variety of agreement targets. Two related but distinct gender systems can be identified. The first system is sensitive only to the lexical identity of the noun. The second system is influenced by the semantic factors of animacy and diminutiveness, as well as the phenomenon of reduction to a “default” gender, which can be seen as a reorganization of the first, more conservative agreement scheme.

Corresponding author: John T. M. Merrill, Princeton University, Princeton, USA, E-mail: ; and Viktoria Apel, Department of Asian and African Studies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany, E-mail:


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Published Online: 2021-07-08
Published in Print: 2021-07-27

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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