The Noun Class System of Bwala, an Undocumented Teke Language from the DRC (Bantu, B70z)
This paper presents the noun class system of Bwala, a nearly undocumented and undescribed Bantu language of the Teke group spoken in the Kinshasa Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Genealogically speaking, Bwala belongs to the Kasai-Ngounie (Extended) subclade, one of the major monophyletic groups within West-Coastal Bantu. Bwala has seven singular classes (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 14, 15) and five plural classes (2, 4, 6, 8, 10) which form nine singular/plural noun class pairings (1/2, 3/4, 5/6, 5/10, 5/4, 7/8, 7/6, 9/6, 14/6). The paper furthermore addresses the diachronic changes which the Bwala noun class system underwent with respect to Proto-Bantu (PB). We compare these to the changes identified by Hyman, Lionnet, and Ngolele (2019) for Teke-Ewo, a closely related variety, with the aim of identifying morphological innovations shared between varieties of the so-called Teke group (Bantu B70).