Comparison with Romance Genders


Many European languages, notably Romance languages with which the reader may be familiar, have gender systems comparable in some respects to the noun class systems of Tseeyo and other closely related (Southern Atlantic), or more distantly related (Bantu and other Niger-Congo) languages. These Romance languages generally display agreement in gender with right-branching noun phrases and predicate modifiers. Many statements that would take predicate adjectives in these languages are expressed by stative verbs in Tseeyo. Stative verbs do not participate in the noun class concord system, and thus there is no agreement with the head noun.



Compare the sentences below in Spanish, French, and Tseeyo.


Fr. Le cochon noir est gros et prt tuer.

The pig black is fat and ready for (to.kill)


Sp. El cerdo negro es gordo y listo para matar.

The pig black is fat and ready for (to.kill)


Tsy. cuku tiŋo cɛlɲɛ́ n ŋɛ diul w .

The pig black (is.fattened) and we ( it small



We can see from these examples that the modifiers (underlined) in these Romance languages agree in gender with the controlling noun (bold). In Tseeyo, there are stative verbs that cover (with the appropriate verbal extensions) the equivalent semantic territory as the predicate adjectives in French and Spanish, and only the adjective and the object pronoun w it (pig) require agreement with the subject in its role as controlling noun.