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Cardinal numerals in Kambaata

Abstract : In the Cushitic language Kambaata (Ethiopia) most cardinal numerals belong to the same word class as adjectives. As modifiers they agree with their head nouns in case and gender. Only higher numerals such as '100', '1000' and 'million' are noun-like and invariantly encoded in the genitive case when modifying a head noun. The present study does not only aim at describing the characteristic morpho-syntactic features of Kambaata numerals with examples from texts and elicitation but it also points out an important aspect of the diachronic development of tens ('10', '20', ... '90'). A comparison of the Kambaata numerals with those of related languages reveals that Kambaata must have restructured its tens in recent times. In addition to the vocalic 'ten'-marking morpheme that Kambaata shares with other Highland East Cushitic languages, a morpheme -duma is suffixed; i.e. all tens are double-marked. The old (simple) forms of the tens were retained only in the numerals made up of tens plus units (e.g. '21').
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Contributor : Yvonne Treis <>
Submitted on : Thursday, July 19, 2012 - 4:48:46 PM
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  • HAL Id : hal-00719422, version 1


Yvonne Treis. Cardinal numerals in Kambaata. Tomáš Machalík & Jan Záhořík. Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on African Studies, Dryada, pp.55-70, 2007. ⟨hal-00719422⟩



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