Gender. Maarten Mous. Semantic aspects of gender. Male / Female Agentives (but) Male / Female singulatives of animals/people. Not semantically based. examples of “wrong” gender m/f in multiple reference various values for gender for similar concepts (e.g. gourds). Semantic effects. size
Similar functions in neighbouring Omotic, Semitic of Ethiopia, including Amharic.
singular / plural pairing
few roots in multiple classes
class membership is reconstructable
semantic agreement with human/animate
derivation within the noun class system
association in form / meaning
Shift to class n for diminutive, to class m for augmentative
Shift to class 14 for abstract concepts
Other semantic distribution: land/language/people; fruit/tree
Positioning into class r for verbal noun
Shift to (empty) class 16,17,18 for concepts of location
Shift to other class for plural
Characterisation of tendencies:
long/thin in 11
tree like things in 7
liquids in 6
round in 5
These are reminiscent of functions of numeral classifiers.
Synchronic value difficult to determine.