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Areal grammaticalization: The case of the Bantu-Nilotic borderland

Tania A. Kuteva

The issue addressed in the present study is contact-induced change involving the appearance of new Hnguistic structures for the expression of grammatical categories. The paper builds a case for the existence of a particular type of grammaticalization, areal grammaticalization, in a particular language contact area, the Bantu-Nilotic borderland in Eastern Africa. In this area it is possible to observe "loan translation" on a large scale, which is not confined to lexical semantics; it relates to patterns that involve grammatical categories. My main concern is with two languages in the Bantu-Nilotic borderland area, Gusii (Bantu, Niger-Congo) and Nandi (Southern Nilotic, Nilo-Saharan). A particular emphasis is put on the domain of nominal classification in these languages.

1. Introduction In this paper I will build a case for the existence of a particular type of grammaticalization, areal grammaticalization, in a particular language contact area, the Bantu-Nilotic borderland in Eastern Africa. My main concern will be with two languages in this area, Gusii, called also Kisii, (Bantu, Niger-Congo) and Nandi (Southern Nilotic, Nilo-Saharan). In my examination of these languages I will focus on an important domain of their grammars, nominal classification. Drawing upon the comparative work done by Dimmendaal (1995a) on the tense systems of Nandi and Gusii as well as on individual publications on Nilotic and Bantu languages, I will argue in favour of a massive, large-scale "loan translation" from Gusii to Nandi, which involves both lexical and grammatical categories. It must be pointed out that investigation of external causes of grammaticalization is as welcome as it is needed in grammaticalization studies. In the mainstream work on grammaticalization, the factors that have usually been pointed out as triggering particular grammaticalization developments are internal, conceptualisation processes. Areal influence as a result of language contact has Folia Linguistica XXXIV/3-4 (C) Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin 0165-4004/00/34-267 $ 2.Societas Linguistica Europaca


remained largely neglected as an important driving force for conceptualisation — and grammaticalization — processes, and it is only recently that a growing number of linguists have become aware of the importance of areal factors in grammaticalization (Dimmendaal 1995a, Aikhenvald 1996, Bisang 1996, Haase & Nau 1996, Chappell forthcoming, Heine & Kuteva forthcoming a; cf. also previous research on contact-induced change in Fisiak 1980, Kastovsky & Szwedek 1986, Weinreich, Labov & Herzog 1968). 2. The Bantu-Nilotic borderland 2.1 The Nandi-Gusii contact: Socio-historical setting I will consider two languages spoken in eastern Africa, Nandi and Gusii, which have been in contact for several generations, Nandi is a Kalenjin language, Kalenjin and Omotic-Datooga are the two branches of Southern Nilotic (Rottland 1982). Gusii is a Bantu language with which the Kalenjin speaking people came first into contact during their expansion southward from Western Kenya. Thus oral tradition states that the Nandi group left Mount Elgon and slowly moved south-south-east travelling until they reached lake Victoria. At this juncture they turned east and moving along the lake coast through a forest, reached an upland surface behind an escarpment (Walter 1968:60-62). According to Walter (1968:62), the Nandi migration to their present homeland dates back to 1496. In the period following their settlement, the Nandi were left relatively undisturbed for a length of time. The Luo, to the south and south-west, came later. And so did the Bantu group on the west. The oral literature indicates, however, that by 1850 the Nandi had started their raids on Luo and Bantu peoples on the south and west. Out of all the Bantuspeaking groups with whom the Nandi got into contact, Walter (1968:94) gives the names of two, the Wanga, and the Kisii, i.e. the Gusii. While the written evidence is extremely scanty, oral tradition and history provide enough information to indicate that there existed long-term intimate contacts between Kalenjin groups such as Nandi and speakers of Gusii as well as other related Eastern Bantu languages. These contacts are most likely to have involved both trade and intermarriage (Mwanzi 1977:85, cited in Dimmendaal 1995a). Dimmendaal (1995a) reports that during the nineteenth century Nandi wars with neighbouring peoples were punctuated by truces in times of famine. During such truces the womenfolk travelled into neighbouring areas to barter for food, which resulted in an intense contact situation involving Kalenjin groups and speakers of neighbouring Bantu languages. There exists ample evidence for lexical borrowing from Eastern Bantu into Kalenjin (Ehret 1971). There is also evidence for phonological influence in the same direction (Dimmendaal 1995 b).


On the basis of observations mainly from the tense-aspect systems of Nandi and Gusii, in the following subsection, I will argue that a substantial part of the tense-aspect system of Nandi can best be explained as a result of the adaptation of this language to its neighbouring Bantu languages, and in particular to Gusii, by integrating part of the system of the donor language (cf. also Kuteva forthcoming).

2.2 Tense-Aspect
A major characteristic of the Nandi-Gusii contact is the restructuring of the tense-aspect system of Nandi (Kalenjin, Nilotic) on the model of Gusii (Bantu. Niger-Congo). Dimmendaal (1995a) describes in detail the unidirectionality of the contact-induced change of the tense system of Nandi under the influence of Gusii. More precisely, Dimmendaal shows that: Nilotic languages tend to be aspectual in nature (with a highly grammaticalized perfective vs. imperfective distinction); and (ii) distinctions for time in these languages may be rendered by adverbs of time, usually occurring as independent words sentence finally or initially, depending on the information structure in a sentence. Dimmendaal then goes on to demonstrate how Kalenjin, and Nandi in particular, differs from its genetic "sister" languages. Thus Nandi stands out — against the background of Nilotic languages — with its separate set of past tense markers. Moreover, this set involves an extensive past tense marking, which is notably absent from Nilotic. That is, in addition to the basic dichotomy between perfective and imperfective aspect in the indicative, there are one non-past tense and three past tenses: hodiernal, hesternal, and distant (Creider & Creider 1989). Cognate forms for the Nandi past tense markers, hodiernal, hesternal, and distant are also found in a closely related variety of Kalenjin, Kipsikiis. Therefore, it is entirely justifiable to accept Dimmendaal's argumentation that the tense marking system in Nandi (and other Kalenjin dialects) is an innovation after Omotic-Datooga and Proto-Kalenjin had emerged as separate Southern Nilotic groups. This innovation can be readily explained in terms of areal diffusion and contact-induced change. As shown in Dimmendaal (1995a), the way Nandi differs from other Nilotic languages is precisely the way in which it is the "same" as its neighbouring non-Nilotic, Bantu languages like Gusii. Thus, typologically, the Gusii tense system is very close to the Nandi tense system: it has four divisions of past time and only one of future time, and Nandi makes three distinctions for past tense and one for future tense. Note that we are not dealing here with identity/similarity of form : meaning pairings. Rather, we observe commonality in the abstract structuring of the temporal domain in two genetically different languages which happen to be in socio-historical/geographical contact. (i)


In Kuteva (forthcoming), I argued that in addition to the tense-system restructuring, particular conceptual-semantic patterns in the aspectual domain of Nandi, too, were the result of borrowing from Gusii. I studied in particular the category of the proximative. The proximative has been defined as a purely aspectual category which involves a temporal phase located close before the initial boundary of the situation described by the main verb (Heine 1992, Heine 1994a, b, c, Heine 1997, Konig 1993, Kuteva 1998, Romaine 1999). The Nandi proximative structure involves the auxiliary verb eku 'become' (in the 3rd person singular past tense form). There are a number of languagespecific characteristics which mark the Nandi proximative as rather "unusual". Firstly, the auxiliary eku can be employed in the proximative construction only in its past tense form, even though the meaning of the Nandi proximative does not involve any time reference and the interpretation of a sentence containing the proximative structure can be either past or non-past. Secondly, the form in which the main verb is employed within the proximative structure is rather unusual, too, namely the relative. Note that in Nandi the relative — marked by nefor the singular and che- for the plural — is sometimes used instead of the personal prefixes. Hollis (1909) provides examples of the Nandi proximative as well as literal translations of the respective Nandi sentences: (1) Nandi (Nilotic, Nilo-Saharan; Hollis 1909:227) Kakoi- ek nerarok- toi asista PASTl- 3- become REL- fall- ITP/E.IPFV sun.NOM (lit. It has become which descends thither the sun) 'The sun is or was on the point of setting' (emphasis in the original) Nandi (Nilotic, Nilo-Saharan; Hollis 1909: 227) Kakoi- ek nenget- e chiito mukuleldo PASTl- 3- become REL- snap- IPFV person heart.NOM (lit. It has become which he breaks the man the heart) 'The man is or was on the point of death' (emphasis in the original).


Thirdly, the employment of the auxiliary verb 'become' is rather rare in Africa. Moreover, an investigation of the most common grammaticalization processes in the languages of the world (Heine & Kuteva, forthcoming b) shows that the use of the verb 'become' for the expression of the proximative is not a crosslinguistic characteristic, either; that is, it is not a pattern attested in languages outside Africa, either. Unlike Nandi, other African languages usually structure their proximatives on the basis of the conceptual-semantic pattern of VOLITION {X wants Y), e.g. Ewe (Ameka 1990:145), LOCATION (X is at/near Y), e.g. Tsonga (Heine 1997:11), and MOTION (X comes/goes to Y), e.g. Tchien Krahn (Marchese 1986:121).


The above "rarities'', described for the Nandi proximative, apply — in a very similar way — to the proximative in Gusii, too. Whiteley (1960:63) describes the Gusii proximative as a grammaticalised structure ("a compound tense with RADICAL - VERBAL PREFix-fl-[5-/re ko-R^DlC^L-a, 15-" in Whiteley's terminology) consisting of two word forms, and pointing to "[n]o time reference, but rather to a state of affairs 'being about to come into existence'": (3) Gusii (Bantu, Niger-Congo; Whiteley 1960:63; glosses with thanks to Bernd Heine, p.c.) A. Kwamanyire eke Gusii? 'Do you know Gusii?' B. Yaaya, tindaamanya kegfma! 'No, not yet!' A. Korende kwaisire ko- manya but PREF- PERF- come/become- PERF INF- learn/know- a 'But you've almost learnt it.' The auxiliary which the Gusii proximative employs, i.e. -is-, comes from a morpheme meaning (i) 'come', and (ii) 'become' (Mohlig forthcoming). In other words, the Gusii proximative can be regarded as being based on either the conceptual-semantic pattern of MOTION {X comes/goes to Y), or the one of CHANGE-OF-STATE (A" becomes Y). The morphological shape of the first component of the Gusii proximative structure is very reminiscent of the Nandi proximative: it is the perfect form of the radical -is- (which comes from the morpheme 'come, become') in Gusii, whereas in Nandi we have the past tense form of the auxiliary eku 'become'. Note that in Gusii. like in Nandi, this does not restrict the use of the proximative to past tense contexts; in fact, the proximative structure in Gusii points to "no time reference", according to Whiteley's (1960:63) definition cited above. The similarity between the proximatives in the two languages becomes even more spectacular when we take into account the form of the second component of the corresponding structures: in both Nandi and Gusii we are dealing with main verbs in the relative, following the auxiliary. Thus, just like in Nandi, the second component of the proximative structure (i.e. the main verb) in Gusii is marked for the relative (cf. the discussion of the "general present or no-time relative" encoded as VERBAL PREFIX + ko + ROOT + a\n Whiteley (1965:67). On the basis of comparative data from both Nilotic and Bantu languages, Kuteva (forthcoming) argues that the similarities between the Nandi proximative and the Gusii proximative are the result of the areal "migration" of the conceptual-semantic pattern CHANGE-OF-STATE (X becomes Y) from Gusii to Nandi, rather than vice versa. More precisely, Kuteva proposes that the Nandi proximative — which employs the auxiliary verb eku 'become' — has been borrowed from Gusii, whereby Nandi-Gusii bilingual speakers (perhaps Nandi


speakers with imperfect knowledge of Gusii) understood the source structure, i.e. the Gusii proximative as being based on the CHANGE-OF-STATE pattern {X becomes Y). This is, indeed, a plausible scenario because of the fact that there exist two alternative possibilities for the conceptualisation of the Gusii proximative: either in terms of the MOTION pattern {X comes/goes to Y) or in terms of the CHANGE-OF-STATE one (X becomes Y) since the auxiliary involved in the Gusii proximative derives from a morpheme with the meanings 'come' on the one hand, and 'become', on the other. In other words, the Nandi-Gusii bilinguals may well have: interpreted the radical -is- in the Gusii proximative to contribute the inceptive semantics of 'become' within the proximative structure, and then (ii) "translated" the Gusii proximative structure into Nandi. Note that the 'become'-proximative in Nandi, described by Hollis (1909), has been replaced by a new proximative structure in the present-day language, spoken in Kapseret (which is considered to be solidly in the middle of Nandi dialect-wise) which — like the proximative in most Bantu languages — is based on the VOLITION pattern {X wants Y): (4) Nandi (with thanks to Chet Creider and Jane Creider, p.c.) ma- ko- rarak- ta asf:s(ta) want- 3- fall- ITIVE sun.NOM 'the sun is about to set' This recent development, however, does not eliminate the fact of the existence of the first, 'become'-proximative, which — as I have proposed — is a borrowing from Gusii. (i)

2.3 Nominal classification
My main concern in the present study of the Nandi-to-Gusii language adaptation is with an important domain of the grammars of the two contact languages, namely nominal classification. A traditional treatment of nominal classification systems involves the distinction between the following types: Indo-European (Erench, German, Russian) Bantu, Australian (Dyirbal) Mesoamerican (Jakaltek), Australian (Yidiny) South East Asian (Chinese, Thai, Burmese), Mesoamerican (Tzeltal) (e) Genitive classifiers: Micronesian (Ponapean) (f) Verbal classifiers: North American (Cayuga) others (a) (b) (c) (d) Gender: Noun classes: Noun classifiers: Numeral classifiers:


Corbett (1991) has shown, however, that there is no essential distinction between type a), i.e. "gender", and type b), i.e. "noun class systems": "gender" could conveniently include types of nominal classification traditionally referred to as "noun-class systems". Here, I will be using "gender" as Corbett (1991) does, i.e. as a cover term for type a) and type b) systems. At this point it must be pointed out that in African linguistics, the term "gender" tends to be used only when sex figures among the bases of classification. One of the few exceptions to this tradition is Heine (1982), who treats both type a) and type b) systems as gender systems, sex-based, and nature-based ones, respectively (see the discussion below). In addition to the cover term gender, here I am using another term much more general in scope — nominal classification — to comprise all kinds of phenomena related to gender. In the remainder of this paper, I will speak of the nominal classification system of Nandi as juxtaposed to the nominal classification system of Gusii. For my present purposes, the issue of exactly how the nominal classification system of the one language (Gusii) can be mapped on to the nominal classification system of the other language (Nandi) is irrelevant. What I will be interested in is how these two languages, with initially incompatible nominal classification systems, come to be more similar to each other in the way they classify particular lexemes into particular classes or groups of words. 2.3. J Nominal classification systems in African languages Before taking a closer look at the nominal classification systems of Nandi and Gusii, a short description of nominal classification systems in African languages is due. Heine (1982) identifies three types of such systems — all of which he also calls gender systems — in the languages of Africa, sex-based, naturebased, and mixed ones. A sex-based system involves the distinction MASCULINE ( M ) / FEMININE (F) where MASCULINE is associated in one way or other with male sex. FEMININE being associated with female sex. Apart from expressing distinctions of natural sex with animate nouns, the gender systems of many African sex-based languages have a secondary meaning with inanimates: the MASCULINE gender tends to denote big and strong, the FEMININE small and weak items (Heine 1982:190-191). A nature-based system has a distinction HUMAN/NON-HUMAN or ANIMATE/ INANIMATE underlying it. The number of genders varies between two and forty, and in most cases exceeds five. The following is a catalogue of semantic characteristics which form the basis of nature-based gender systems (Heine 1982:192):

274 Semantic Characteristics: Human, Non-Human Animate, Inanimate Kinship Animals Plants Trees Fruits Tools Wooden objects Liquids Masses Collective items Paired items Individuatives Abstract concepts Customs/Manner Elongated objects Augmentative concepts Diminutive concepts Parts of the body Place: Inside, Definite, Indefinite, Outside

Depending on which particular distinctions are realised in a particular language, we can speak of particular genders' in that particular language. The genders are distinguished by nominal affixes (prefixes, suffixes). Swahili is one such language with a nature-based gender system; it has 16 genders. Let us exemplify how this works by means of the noun for 'tree', which belongs to the gender of living but non-human entities, and has a nominal affix (prefix) m- for the singular and mi- for the plural: (5) Swahili (Ashton 1959:10) mti PREF.SG- tree 'a tree' vs. miti PREF.PL- tree 'trees'

Importantly, each gender has also agreement affixes on the demonstrative, the relative, the verb, and other forms in the sentence. For instance, the agreement affix of the gender to which m-ti 'tree' belongs with the demonstrative and the verb in Swahili is M-, cf.: (6) Swahili (Ashton 1959:11) mti ule umekufa. PREFSG- tree AGR- DEM AGR- be.dead 'That tree is dead.'

Mixed systems combine the features of the above two types.


2.3.2 Nominal classification in Nandi and Gusii What is characteristic of the nominal classification systems of a number of Nilotic languages is the presence of sex-denoting nominal affixes, i.e. MASCULINE vs. FEMININE (vs. NEUTER); Nandi is no exception to this. According to Creider & Creider (1989:32), Nandi distinguishes by the morphemes kip and ce.'p two large groups of nouns corresponding to masculine and feminine. Hollis (1909:158) refers to these as "the particles kip and chep", and states that the former signifies big, strong, or masculine; the latter something of a small, weak, or feminine nature. These morphemes are prefixed to certain substantives and often form a part of the word, which would be unintelligible without them; the examples that he gives are summarised below: (7) Nandi (Hollis 1909:158) Kipsikosiek, the Lumbwa people. Kipsjrochet, the rhinoceros. Kipsoiyet, the cock. Cheptirgichet, the gazelle. Chepkeswet, the small knife. Chepkildet, the little finger. (Hollis 1909:158, see also Tucker & Bryan 1966:13). The morphemes kip- and ce:p- are regularly used to draw a distinction between the sexes: (8) Nandi (Hollis 1909:159) Kongak vs. Kip-kongak vs. Chep-kongak 'one-eyed' 'one-eyed (man)' 'one-eyed (woman)' Not only can they be used with nouns; they can also be attached to adjectives, verbs, verb phrases, and even clauses: (9) Nandi (Creider & Creider 1989:55-56) (a) kip- samis- ngala kip- rotten- words 'male who only says bad things' (b) ce:- ri:reit ce:- 'girl who cries' Even though kip and ce.p are sex-distinguishing affixes, they cannot be treated as true gender markers (see also Tucker & Bryan 1966:13) because as Corbett (1991) emphasises, gender can only be recognised if there is agreement. This, however, is not the case with Nandi (see also below). Bantu languages, on the other hand, do have a gender system, a naturebased one. Back in the beginning of the 1980s, it was thought that nature-based gender systems are confined to Niger-Kordofanian languages with the single exception of the Northern Khoisan language !Xu (Heine 1982:192). Today, after


20 years of further research, our knowledge about the distribution of this type of nominal classification system does not yield a very different picture: according to Creissels (forthcoming: 19), it is a system "encountered in all major branches of the Niger-Congo phylum, with the only exception of Mande, and in Northern Khoisan". Against this background of our knowledge about the genetic distribution of the nature-based gender systems the following particularity about Nandi is really impressive, and suggests that here we might be dealing with the diffusion of an important part of nature-based gender systems to the North, i.e. to Nilotic languages. Thus we can readily identify a particular structural feature which involves the noun olto 'the place' in Nandi. Whereas Nandi nouns do not show agreement with demonstratives, relatives, etc., and cannot therefore be considered to belong to a gender system (see Heine 1982 on the criteria for identifying gender systems), there exists one noun, olto 'the place', which can "be classed by itself (Hollis 1909:159), i.e. which forms a gender with a single member because the demonstrative pronoun and the relative pronoun assume special forms when agreeing with it. The demonstrative pronoun has four forms, one for objects near at hand, another for objects at a distance, and two more for objects previously mentioned, cf. (Hollis 1909:186): for objects at no great distance Ni/I 'this' Chu 'these' referring to things at a distance Nin/In 'that' Chun 'those' this or those, mentioned before No/0 'this' Cho 'these' that/those/yonder, mentioned before Non/On 'that' Chon 'those' The example in (10) below illustrates how the demonstrative for objects at no great distance (which has the form -il-ni) is used with nouns in the singular:


(10) Nandi (Hollis 1909:178-179) 'this girl' Chep-i 'this goat' Artan-ni 'this thing' Kif-i 'this meat' Peny-i 'this ox' Tany-i this bull' Kfrk-i Aiyu6n-ni 'this axe' Ma-i 'this fire, gun' Korkon-ni 'this woman' It is only for the noun olto 'the place' that the demonstrative pronoun has a special set of agreement forms (Hollis 1909:186):

for objects at no great distance
Yu 'this' Uli 'these'

referring to things at a distance
Yun 'that' Ulin 'those'

this or these mentioned before
Yo 'this' Ulo 'these'

that/those/yonder, mentioned before
Yon 'that' Ulon 'those' The example in (11) shows that the sequence noun + demonstrative (which is the canonical word order for a noun and a demonstrative in Nandi) with oho 'the place' stands out as something exceptional against the background of the way all the other nouns combine with demonstratives in the language: (U) Nandi (Hollis 1909:178) olio yu place this 'this place' With the relative pronoun, again, the Nandi language treats olto 'the place' in a very "special way". Whereas the form for the relative pronoun is ne in the singular and che in the plural with all nouns, there is "a special form" for the word oho, the place, which is ye in both numbers: (12) Nandi (Hollis 1909:187) Chiito ne-kararan 'the man who is beautiful'


(13) Nandi (Hollis 1909:187) Piik che-kororon 'the men who are beautiful' (14) Nandi (Hollis 1909:187) Olto ye-kararan 'the place which is beautiful' (15) Nandi (Hollis 1909:187) Oltosiek ye-kororon 'the places which are beautiful' In other words, there exist clear indications that the noun olto constitutes a gender by itself in the nominal classification system of Nandi. Here a series of questions arise. Even though we are justified to treat olto as a gender in its own, why should this be significant for the structure of Nandi? After all, we are dealing with a feature which involves a single item, the word for 'place' in the language. Most likely, it was this very argument — a single item in a gender — that can explain why linguists working on the language (Tucker & Bryan 1966, Toweett 1975) ignore the fact altogether. Another question is: how does the feature under discussion bear upon the issue of Gusii-Nandi contact and areal grammaticalization in the first place? What gives us the right to ascribe a special value to the above feature of Nandi is the existence in the neighbouring Bantu languages, Gusii in particular, of a special gender which consists of a single item. This item is exactly the same as the one in Nandi, namely the word for 'place'. Thus in gender 16 of the nature-based system of Gusii, there is only one word aase 'place'. The verbal prefix is a- and the demonstratives are aa, aaria, agwo ...: aase aaria 'that place' (Whiteley 1965:38). Note that here we are not dealing with a transfer of a morphological form; it is the concept, or rather the exceptional position/status that a particular concept has in the system of nouns in both Gusii, a Bantu language, and Nandi, a Nilotic language in contact with Gusii and other Bantu languages. Note also that we could assume that the Nandi 'place' gender results from borrowing from Maasai (an Eastern Nilotic language), which, too, has a 'place' gender prefix along with masculine and feminine prefixes. Tucker & Mpaayei (1955:3) begin their grammar of Maasai with the statement that nouns are usually found preceded by a prefix ... Thus: Masculine: o/-, pi. ilEeminine: en-, pi. inSeveral pages later in the book, however, they resume the issue with a modification of the above statement specifying that there are actually three groups of nouns in Maasai (TUcker & Mpaayei 1955:15). The third one is 'place', the 'place'-prefixes are e- for the singular, and /- for the plural. The authors obser\e


that e-wueji (PREFix-place.SG) with the plural form being i-weji-tin (PREFIXplace-PL), and kaji? (where?=which place?) "seem to be the only two words" in the 'place' gender. One could then imagine a scenario where the nominal classification system of Maasai has influenced the nominal classification system of Nandi by transferring to it the "idea" that the word for 'place' deserves a gender partition for itself. While such a possibility cannot be ruled out a prioi, there exist at least three arguments in favour of a Gusii-to-Nandi rather than Maasaito-Nandi feature transfer. Firstly, it is much more plausible to assume that Gusii is the donor of the Nandi feature under discussion since Gusii but not Maasai can be said to have been the donor of a number of features (lexical, phonological, tense distinctions, aspectual patterns) for Nandi. It is a widelyobserved phenomenon in contact situations that the more features n a language A has borrowed from language B, the more likely it is for a feature ^ + 7 to be borrowed from that same language B rather than from a third language C. Secondly, it is much more likely that the direction of borrowing the feature gender consisting of the word for 'place' as a single member is from Bantu languages like Gusii to Nilotic languages like Nandi and Maasai rather than vice versa because (i) it is a feature much more frequent with Bantu languages than with Nilotic ones; and (ii) Maasai has a similar history of contact with Bantu speakers. In other words, whereas it is true that both Nandi and Maasai have — like many other Nilotic languages — sex-denoting nominal affixes, it is also true that the only Nilotic languages where we come across a 'place' gender are exactly Nandi and Maasai. So Nandi, and Maasai, with their 'place' gender, stand out as "the odd men out" against the background of other Nilotic languages. At the same time, this very "oddness" makes them similar to their contact Bantu languages such as Gusii. Thirdly, the Nandi 'place' gender, with the word for 'place' as its single member, corresponds more clearly to the Gusii 'place' gender (which also has the word for 'place' as a single member) rather than to the Maasai one, which according to Tucker & Mpaayei (1955) consists of two members, the form for 'place' and for 'where?' (='which place?'). Note, however, that, given the fact that languages seldom borrow agreement patterns, one may possibly raise an objection to the present analysis: why shouldn't the unusual behaviour of the word 'place' in Nandi and Maasai be attributed to retention of a genetically inherited pattern rather than areal diffusion, especially since 'locative gender' is found in at least one more genetically related Nilotic language, Turkana, Eastern Nilotic (Dimmendaal 1983:215)? While I agree that in comparative studies, the possibility of genetic inheritance of a particular feature can never be ruled out 100%, in the case under discussion it is highly unlikely — I contend — that Nandi and Maasai have inherited the 'place' gender from Proto-Nilotic for the following reason. The locative morphemes in Turkana are simply too different — functionally — to be consid-


ered on a par with the 'place' gender in Nandi and Maasai, As was argued above, the 'place' gender in Nandi and Maasai involves a particular way of conceptualising the objective world as divided into three groups of entities, feminine, masculine, and 'place' as the single member entity of its own gender. The Turkana language, on the other hand, employs a set of locative morphemes in order to mark common nouns or mass nouns — which may be either masculine or feminine — as locative complements indicating a place, direction or source. Therefore Dimmendaal (1983:215-217) treats the set of locative morphemes in Turkana as locative case markers. The examples in (19) and (20) below demonstrate the feminine singular noun mositj 'rhinoceros' in the locative case (with locative case marker na-), and the masculine singular noun kdrl 'giraffe' (with locative case marker Id-), respectively: (16) Turkana (Dimmendaal 1983:215) na-mosir) 'towards the rhinoceros' (17) Turkana (Dimmendaal 1983:215) 16-k6ri 'towards the giraffe' To sum up, in this section I have argued that it is very plausible to assume that we are dealing here with a transfer of a particular grammatical feature from Gusii into Nandi. This feature also happens to constitute a particular gender by itself. Of course, it is too far-fetched to assume that this might be the beginning, the "penetration point", of a process which may lead to appearance of an overall, coherent, nature-based gender system in Nandi. It is justifiable, however, to assume that the nominal classification system of Bantu languages like Gusii has influenced the nominal classification system of Nandi by transferring to it the "idea" that the word for 'place' deserves a gender partition for itself. How exactly has this "idea" been transferred from Gusii to Nandi? What are the precise mechanisms? At the present stage of research, this question is too difficult to answer, and it remains a subject for a future study. 3. Concluding remarks In the previous sections of this work, I have discussed intense areal diffusion phenomena in a particular language contact situation involving Nandi (Nilotic, Nilo-Saharan) and Gusii (Bantu, Niger-Kordofanian) in the Bantu-Nilotic borderland. Taking into account facts about heavy Nandi borrowing from Gusii grammar, we can regard — I propose — the Gusii-Nandi situation as a case of contact or areal grammaticalization (cf. also Heine & Kuteva, forthcoming (a)) since it involves isomorphism with respect to (i) the conceptual-semantic structuring of the entire temporal domain, (ii) the conceptual-semantic pattern for the


proximative aspectual category, and (iii) an important, nominal classification feature, namely gender consisting of the word for 'place' as a single member. Address of the author
Tania Kuteva Heinrich-Heine-Universitat Diisseldorf AnglistiklllGeb. 23.21.01 UniversitalsstraBe 1 D-40225 Diisseldorf (Germany)

* The author wishes to thank two anonymous referees, Chet Creider and Jane Creider, Gerrit Dimmendaal, Bernd Heine, Wilhelm Mohlig, Helma Pasch and Erhard Voeltz for their insightful comments on an earlier version of this paper. My special thanks go also to the German Research Foundation for the generous financial support, and to the C.N.R.S. Paris, France. Many Africanists use the term "noun classes" — especially in nature-based systems — as a synonym for genders. The existence of a 'place' gender in Nandi should not be confused with the existence of what Creider & Creider (1989:56) show to be a 'locative prefix' ka:p (derived from ka 'home' and a:p 'of, which is used as a derivational morpheme in order to form names of locations and names of lineages, e.g. ka:p-kepen Kapkepen (a place) (kepen 'cave') ka:-pe:lya ce pa kipsamoytey the lineage of Kibelio, the ones who are located in Kipsamoitei.

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