Cross River as a model for the evolution of Benue-Congo nominal class concord systems


  • Demuth Faraclas


cross river languages, noun class, concord, Bendi, Ogoni, typology, language change


Cross River languages exhibit nominal class/concord systems which typify almost every possible stage of simplification of the proto-Benue-Congo system, from full retention in some Upper Cross and Bendi languages to near complete elimination in the Ogoni group. The synchronic facts from Cross River shed light on some of the psycholinguistic processes involved in class/concord systems acquisition and retention as well as some of the sociolinguistic processes involved in the modification or loss of such systems. Taken together, the nominal class/concord systems of the Cross River languages correspond to points along a continuum or implicational scale which may prove to be of value in establishing a typology of class/concord systems throughout the Benue-Congo sub-branch.