Chapter in:Grammatical and Sociolinguistic Aspects of Ethiopian Languages
Edited by Derib Ado, Almaz Wasse Gelagay and Janne Bondi Johannessen †
[IMPACT: Studies in Language, Culture and Society 48] 2021
Number marking in Nuer nouns
This paper investigates the formation of number in the nouns of Nuer, a Nilo-Saharan language spoken both in South Sudan and Ethiopia. Forming plurals in Nuer is by itself quite irregular: there are many different ways. Suffixing the [-ni̤] after words that end in sounds other than [l] and [r] is the first way. [l] and [r]take [-i̤] after them, which is the second way. There are also many other ways of forming a plural from singular, including suppletion, vowel shortening, change in vowel quality and internal vowel modification (this last way is quite unpredictable in nature). There is also a null (Ø) formation of plurals with no distinction between singular and plural. Other closely related languages like Dinka (South Sudan) and Anyuak (both Ethiopia and South Sudan), see Reh (1996), share many of the same plural formation processes.
Keywords: Nuer, singular, plural, singulative, suffixation, tone change
Crazzolara, J. Pasquale