Sotho Parts of Speech - Enumeratives


In the Bantu languages, enumeratives are a category of qualificatives generally having some significance of enumeration. They are distinguished from other qualificatives by the fact that they use the enumerative concord.

In many Bantu languages the first five numerals belong to this category, but in Sesotho only the numeral 1 is an enumerative (the second to fifth are adjectives).

Sesotho has three basic enumeratives, divided into two types ("weak" or "strong"):

The enumeratives
No. Stem Type English meaning
1. -ng strong one, alone
-ng what kind?
2. -fe? weak which?
3. -sele weak other

The strong enumerative stems use the strong form of the enumerative concord, and the weak stems use the weak form.

The numeral -ng has a special form with class 9 nouns where it appears as -nngwe (thus the numeral). It is always preceded by one of two constructions:

  • The participial copulative
    Mooki a le mong One nurse
    Baoki ba le bang The nurses only
  • The relative
    Mooki ya mong One nurse

This stem should not be confused with the adjective -ng (some) which has a high tone and is used as a normal adjective:

mooki e mong some nurse

The other enumeratives are used regularly using the enumerative concord:

Ke moreana mong? What type of medicine is this?
Ke moreana ofe? Which medicine is this?
Ke moreana osele! It's the wrong medicine!

-fe may also be used in a particular construction (repeated and with the conjunctive enclitic le-) to mean "any":

selemo sefe le sefe any year
  • Direct
  • With nouns
  • Descriptive

Read more about this topic:  Sotho Parts Of Speech