Sociogeographic correlates of typological variation in northwestern Bantu gender systems

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/346448

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Verkerk , A & Di Garbo , F 2022 , ' Sociogeographic correlates of typological variation in northwestern Bantu gender systems ' , Language Dynamics and Change , vol. 12 , pp. 155-223 . https://doi.org/10.1163/22105832-bja10017

Title: Sociogeographic correlates of typological variation in northwestern Bantu gender systems
Author: Verkerk, Annemarie; Di Garbo, Francesca
Contributor organization: Department of Languages
General Linguistics
Date: 2022
Language: eng
Number of pages: 69
Belongs to series: Language Dynamics and Change
ISSN: 2210-5824
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/22105832-bja10017
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/346448
Abstract: This paper investigates the sociolinguistic factors that impact the typology and evolution of grammatical gender systems in northwestern Bantu, the most diverse area of the Bantu-speaking world. We base our analyses on a typological classification of 179 northwestern Bantu languages, focusing on various instances of semantic agreement and their role in the erosion of gender marking. In addition, we conduct in-depth analyses of the sociolinguistics and population history of the 17 languages of the sample with the most eroded gender systems. The sociohistorical factors identified to explain these highly eroded systems are then translated into a set of explanatory variables, which we use to conduct extensive quantitative analyses on the 179 language sample. These variables are population size, longitude, latitude, relationship with the Central African rainforest, and border with Ubangi/Central Sudanic languages. All these measures are relevant, with population size and bordering with Ubangi/Central Sudanic being the most robust factors in accounting for the distribution of gender restructuring. We conclude that fine-tuned variable design tailored to language and area-specific ecologies is crucial to the advancement of quantitative sociolinguistic typology.
Subject: 6121 Languages
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by_nc
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion


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