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


  • Rasmus Bernander Department of Languages, University of Helsinki
  • Antti O. Laine Department of Languages, University of Helsinki
  • Lotta Aunio Department of Languages, University of Helsinki



Bantu, Mara, numerals, numeral system, reconstruction


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.


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How to Cite

Bernander, R., Laine, A. O., & Aunio, L. (2020). The numeral system(s) in Western Serengeti – formal, functional and historical inferences. Studies in African Languages and Cultures, (54), 35–70.