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date: 22 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter is an overview of derivational means described so far for members of the Afroasiatic language phylum—about 375 living languages spoken by about 300 million speakers. The chapter begins with an outline of root-and-pattern morphology, as attested in Semitic, Egyptian, and Berber before describing other derivational means in Afroasiatic languages, including zero-derivation, affixation, reduplication, compounding, vowel changes, tone changes, and the derivational use of gender markers. The third part of the chapter is devoted to derivation in the Chadic family, the most diverse member of the phylum. Because only a small percentage of Afroasiatic languages have been described, one cannot yet posit universals for the phylum. However, languages of all Afroasiatic families show means of deriving nouns from verbs and from other nouns, and also (with the exception of the Omotic family) exhibit nouns formed via the prefix m(V) , which may be a universal of the Afroasiatic phylum.

Keywords: root-and-pattern morphology, prefix m(V), gender markers, reduplication, zero-derivation, compounding, affixation, vowel changes, tone changes

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