The phonology, morphology and semantics of Shilluk cattle nouns
Shilluk, a Western-Nilotic language spoken in South Sudan, is of particular interest due to its rich phonological and morphological systems. A dataset of 32 cattle nouns was transcribed for this project through controlled elicitation sessions with a Shilluk language consultant. Many of these nouns have di erent forms depending on the maturity and age of the animal. It is found that the cattle noun lexicon is a rich morphological area, involving a large amount of pre xation. The pre xes on the cow and bull forms are unpredictable from the phonological properties of the stem. Di erent pre xation strategies are used to mark age; pre xation in bullcalves is compositional (ñ aa- + bull pre x + stem) but not in the heifer form, where one pre x is used. Approximately half of the cattle noun roots are derived from other Shilluk words but many source words have di erent tonal speci cations and plural forms to the cattle nouns. Number marking in the cattle noun lexicon is found to be more regular than in the larger Shilluk lexicon, since 21.2% of nouns use one number marking pattern. However, it is not the case that number marking is completely predictable in cattle nouns, as there are many less frequent number marking patterns in the cattle noun lexicon.