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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Iraqw is spoken in northern Tanzania and is the largest South Cushitic language, with roughly half a million speakers. The phonological inventory is characterizedby, inter alia, the opposition of short vs. long vowels, the occurrence of lateral consonants—ejective affricate /tl/ and fricative /hl/—and a two-tone system which is grammatically (but not lexically) significant. Nominals are subject to a three-way gender distinction, which includes an interesting feature “plural” besides masculine and feminine. The gender of a noun is defined by agreement. The complexity of the Iraqw language lies in the rich inflectional element that forms a separate word independent of the verb, the so-called “selector”. Selectors are present in every sentence except for imperatives and are used with nominal and verbal complements and, for that reason, are to be seen as the root for inflectional forms.

Keywords: Iraqw, South Cushitic, Tanzania, gender, selector

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