Zulu noun classes revisited: A spoken corpus-based approach
AbstractThis article offers a spoken corpus-based re-analysis of the Zulu noun classes within a cognitive semantics and socio-cultural approach. Usually, Zulu nouns are classified according to traditional criteria based on their formal and semantic properties. This article argues that although the Zulu noun classification is semantically motivated, there is a controversy as to what semantic principles can explain the grouping together of nouns into various classes. The article starts by defining the Zulu noun class system and briefly discusses the classification criteria. The spoken language data is presented in tables and analysed accordingly. The results from this data confirm most of the generalizations and assumptions offered by the traditional perspectives about the classification system, but fail to explain why there is heterogeneity in most class genders. The research reported on in this article shows that the semantic heterogeneity of most class genders can be resolved by following a holistic perspective on the Zulu noun classification. This includes a cognitively motivated framework for describing associative relations among the members of a category and socio-cultural rules of interpretation.
S.Afr.J.Afr.Lang., 2010, 1