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Journal Articles Linguistic Typology at the Crossroads Year : 2023

Variation in Central Ring: Convergence or divergence?

Pius W. Akumbu
Roland Kiessling


Central Ring (CR) Grassfields Bantu languages of Cameroon seem to form a distinct subgroup within Ring that can be delimited from the West Ring subgroup by some isomorphs (e.g., absence of noun class 4, presence of a contrast of plural noun classes 10 vs. 13, absence of a fully morphologicized aspectual focus system), a couple of isoglosses such as *m-lám (6a) ‘blood’, *m-fʉ́(k) (6a) ‘pus’, *kə-bvʊ̂l (7) ‘ashes’, *fɨ̀ɨ / *kʊ̀l (9/10) ‘rope’, *kə-fûk (7/8) ‘farm’ and gender affiliations of nominal concepts, e.g., *ú-lûə ‘bridge’ in (3/13 vs. 3/6a). The standing challenge is to sort out the precise motivations for these divergent developments, i.e., to what extent they have been inspired by the felt need to accommodate to a target external to CR in the first line, or to what extent the ultimate driving force could rather have been the desire to dissociate from CR neighbours and increase linguistic distinctions as symbolic consolidation of sociopolitical independence.
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Dates and versions

hal-04250289 , version 1 (19-10-2023)
hal-04250289 , version 2 (01-12-2023)



Pius W. Akumbu, Roland Kiessling. Variation in Central Ring: Convergence or divergence?. Linguistic Typology at the Crossroads, 2023, 3 (1), pp.19-42. ⟨10.6092/issn.2785-0943/16312⟩. ⟨hal-04250289v1⟩


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