Appendix:!Xóõ Noun Class

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search

Explanation of the 5 ǃXóõ noun classes

The noun classes[edit]

There are five noun classes numbered 1 to 5. Membership in a class is determined by noting the concords that a noun governs, i.e. agreement between the nouns in terms of person, number, gender or case. It is frequently not possible to determine class membership based on inspection of the phonological shape of the noun. All noun cases except for 5 have a readily identifiable suffixal element which may be used to identify concord and therefore class, but a large number of nouns do not select concords in this transparent way. Noun class can vary for a word depending on if it is singular or plural, and in very few instances, a noun will even show membership in two different classes for the singular. Two noun classes can combine to create a compound noun with a class completely different from those of its parent nouns, e.g. in sòo `a̰a, a combination of "sòo" (medicine, noun class 1) and "`a̰a" (male, noun class 3) which means "medicine man" and is a member of noun class 2. Because class is not always so transparently determined and is actually quite unpredictable, it is listed for every ǃXóõ noun.

  • With each class listed below, an example is given that illustrates the concordial system for a variety of different forms. In each case it is the noun functioning as the object which controls the concordial agreement. Identifiable noun suffixes and the concordial suffixes are in bold face. With these examples, we can clearly see how important noun class in governing the structure of not just the noun, but the entire sentence, as once again, the noun is functioning as the object to control concordial agreement. Selecting the wrong noun class for a certain noun and adjusting the sentence thusly would result in gibberish.

Class 1[edit]

Identifiable suffixes[edit]

-li, -i

Concord[edit]

-i

Example illustrating the concordial system[edit]

à ǀnài ǀ'a̰i ǃxài tí ǀʻâa ǀîi kì
I past see lion big which dead is which
"I saw a large dead lion."
  • The noun in this example is lion, ǀ'a̰i. Note the -i ending of this infinitive, which hints towards its membership in Noun Class 1.

Class 2[edit]

Identifiable suffixes[edit]

-ã, -ma, -n, -na

Concord[edit]

Example illustrating the concordial system[edit]

à ǀnàã ǂâã ǃxàã t'ã ǀʻâa ǀîi k
I past see bone big which broken is which
"I saw a large broken bone."
  • The noun in this example is bone, ǂâã. Note the -ã ending of this infinitive, which hints towards its membership in Noun Class 2.

Class 3[edit]

Identifiable suffixes[edit]

-le, -e, -je, -be

Concord[edit]

-e

Example illustrating the concordial system[edit]

à ǀnāe ǃʻûle ǃxāe tē ǀʻâa ǀîi kē
I past see dish big which broken is which
"I saw a large broken dish."
  • The noun in this example is dish, ǃʻûle. Note the -le ending of this infinitive, which hints towards its membership in Noun Class 3.
Notes: Class 3 is often associated with nouns denoting singular living objects, but there are many exceptions.

Class 4[edit]

Identifiable suffixes[edit]

-lu, -bu, -u

Concord[edit]

-u

Example illustrating the concordial system[edit]

à ǀnàu u ǃxàbu tú ǀʻâa ǀîi kù
I past see people senior who dead are who
"I saw the dead elders."
  • The noun in this example is people, tùu. Note the -u ending of this infinitive, which hints towards its membership in Noun Class 4.
Notes: Class 4 is often associated with nouns denoting plural living objects, but there are many exceptions.

Class 5[edit]

Identifiable suffixes[edit]

Class 5 nouns have no identifiable suffixes that reveal membership.

Concord[edit]

-n

Example illustrating the concordial system[edit]

à ǀnàn tháa ǃxàn n ǀʻâa ǀîi n
I past see thing big which broken is which
"I saw the large broken thing."
  • The noun in this example is thing, tháa. Nothing in this noun hints towards its membership in Noun Class 5.

References[edit]