Inflectional morphology and number marking in Shilluk nouns

Albert Remijsen, Otto Gwado Ayoker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This chapter offers a descriptive analysis of two topics in the morphology of Shilluk nouns: the inflectional paradigm, and number marking. Aside from the base form, the inflectional paradigm includes the following four forms: a) pertensive with singular possessor; b) pertensive with plural possessor; c) construct state; and d) proximal demonstrative. All of these can be interpreted as instances of head marking, which is characteristic of Shilluk morphosyntax in general (cf. Chapter 1). Following a description of the morphosyntactic functions of the base form and the four inflections, we describe in detail the patterns of morphophonological exponence through which the inflections are expressed. This pattern of exponence includes vowel length, tone, nasalisation, floating quantity, and suffixation. Floating quantity is of particular note: this marker has not been postulated in earlier work. Overall, we find that the inflectional paradigm is largely productive and regular. In contrast, the morphological marking for number is neither regular nor productive, and this is why we do not consider it to be part of the inflectional paradigm. The newly discovered marker of floating quantity supports Gilley’s (1992) tripartite analysis of number marking for Shilluk. For the sake of clarity and accountability, sound examples are embedded in relation to each of the numbered illustrations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Grammar of Shilluk
Place of PublicationHonolulu, Hawai'i
PublisherLanguage Documentation & Conservation
Number of pages80
VolumeSpecial Publication 14
ISBN (Electronic)9780997329529
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2019

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Shilluk
  • morphology
  • grammar
  • Nilo-Saharan
  • West Nilotic
  • suprasegmentals


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