Vol 26 No 4 (2017): Nordic Journal of African Studies
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Patterns and Developments in the Marking of Diminutives in Bantu

Hannah Gibson
Rozenn Guerois
Lutz Marten
Nordic Journal of African Studies
Published December 31, 2017


This paper presents an overview of diminutives in the Bantu language family, with an emphasis on the role of the noun class system in diminutive formation. It charts different processes of language change which have shaped the present-day situation, as well as highlighting instances in which language contact has played a role in the development of diminutive systems. It also addresses semantic and pragmatic processes underlying the change and variation in Bantu diminutives. The comparison is based on a cross-Bantu typology, examining a sample of 48 languages distributed across the linguistic region.