Feature GB170: Can an adnominal property word agree with the noun in gender/noun class?



For this feature, we are interested in noun classes (classes which nouns belong to based on properties such as gender, animacy, or shape and can be identified through agreement with a modifier). We are not looking at noun classifiers (classifiers classify the noun and occur independently from other elements). This feature asks whether adjectives (defined semantically as ‘adnominal property words’) show agreement with the noun class/gender of nouns they modify. This should be true for more than a small class of semantically restricted adjectives; English ‘blond’ vs. ‘blonde’ for example would not be enough to answer 1 for the question.


  1. Code 1 if adjectives agree in noun class/gender with nouns in at least one context (e.g. in the plural).
  2. Code 0 if the author states that there is no gender/noun class system, or it is apparent from the data there is no gender/noun class system.
  3. Code 0 if there is evidence of a gender/noun class system but the system is not productive.
  4. Code ? if the author does not discuss gender/noun class and the data is too limited to assess its existence.


Kambaata (ISO 639-3: ktb, Glottolog: kamb1316)

Coded 1. Adjectives (the targets of agreement) agree in case and gender with their head nouns (the controllers of agreement) (Treis 2008: 256–257).

Qeráa’rr-ut    maránch-at  ées     sagáb-unta                  ass-itée’u.
long-F.NOM     walk-F.NOM  1SG.ACC become:thirsty-1SG.PURP.DS  do-3F.PFV
‘The long walk made me thirsty.’ (Treis 2008: 257)

Qah-ú       shonkoor-á       udul-éen        wor-éenno.
small-M.ACC sugar:cane-M.ACC pound-3HON.PFV  put:into-3HON.IPFV
‘A little bit of sugar cane is pounded and added [to the brew].’ (Treis 2008: 257)

Wadjiginy (ISO 639-3: wdj, Glottolog: wadj1254)

Coded 0. Only a few adjectives are marked for gender. This system may have been borrowed or was the start of a system which is not productive.

canakku   kaɲi-mi     ɲaraca
good.sgf  2sgSNF-sit  daughter
‘Are you OK, daughter?’ (Ford 1990:89)

Further reading

Corbett, Greville G. 1991. Gender. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Corbett, Greville G. 2013. Number of genders. In Matthew S. Dryer & Martin Haspelmath (eds), The world atlas of language structures online. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.


Ford, Lysbeth J. 1990. The phonology and morphology of Bachamal (Wogait). Canberra: Australian National University. (MA thesis.)

Treis, Yvonne. 2008. A grammar of Kambaata, vol. 1: Phonology, nominal morphology and non-verbal predication. (Cushitic language studies (Kuschitische Sprachstudien), 26.) Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe.

GB171: Can an adnominal demonstrative agree with the noun in gender/noun class? GB172: Can an article agree with the noun in gender/noun class? GB198: Can an adnominal numeral agree with the noun in gender/noun class?

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0 absent 1667
1 present 468
? Not known 129



Name Glottocode Family Macroarea Contributor Value Source Comment