From preposition to plural marker and more grammaticalization of Kuche bānà


  • Janet Wilson


Kuche, noun class, pluralizer, associative, topic, focus


While most Benue-Congo languages of West Africa retain only vestiges of a noun class system, Kuche, a language of Central Nigeria, has an extensive system similar in many ways to Bantu systems. One unusual feature of the system is the form ban( a), used to pluralize, for example, kin terms such as 'mother' and 'father' . Although it has been analyzed elsewhere as a noun class prefix, detailed analysis demonstrates that it is not a class prefix but rather a grammaticalized compound consisting of the class 2 pronoun ba plus the preposition na 'with'. Not only has this grammatic ali zed form come to be used as a pluralizer, it also functions as a type of comitative marker. The author shows that na has also combined with agreement prefixes a- and ba- (classes 1 and 2), and has grammaticalized with multiple functions: associative marker, directional marker, focus and topic marker.