The numeral system(s) in Western Serengeti – formal, functional and historical inferences

Rasmus Bernander, Antti O. Laine, Lotta Aunio


In this study we offer a detailed synchronic and diachronic account of the hitherto un(der)-
documented numeral systems of the four closely related (Eastern) Bantu language varieties:
Ikoma, Nata, Ishenyi, and Ngoreme – together forming the Western Serengeti subgroup.
We describe the essentially identical formation and organization of numerals in these
language varieties while also noting the morphosyntactic behaviour of numeral expressions
and their extended uses. Based on an extensive quantity of comparative data, we
furthermore disentangle the historical background to the numerals and their systematization
in Western Serengeti, connecting this specific linguistic domain with the wider genealogical
profile of this subgroup.


Bantu, Mara, numerals, numeral system, reconstruction

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