Issues in noun classification and noun class assignment in Gujjolay Eegimaa (Banjal) and other Joola languages


  • Serge Sagna


gender, noun class, Joola, Eegimaa, agreement


In his book on gender Corbett observes that establishing the number of genders or noun classes in a given language ‘can be the subject of interminable dispute’ (1991: 145). Jóola like Gújjolaay Eegimaa (bqj, Atlantic, Niger-Congo) have noun class systems exhibiting irregular singular-plural matchings and complex agreement correspondences between controller nouns and their targets, resulting in endless disagreements among authors in Jóola linguistics. This paper addresses the issues surrounding noun class assignment in Gújjolaay Eegimaa (Eegimaa henceforth) and other Jóola languages. It provides a critical evaluation of the noun class assignment criteria used for those languages and proposes cross-linguistic and language-specific diagnostic criteria to account for the noun class system of Eegimaa and other related languages that exhibit a similar system.