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The phonology, morphology and semantics of Shilluk cattle nouns

Shilluk is a West-Nilotic language, widely known for its rich suprasegmental, morphological and number marking systems (Remijsen, Miller- Naudé & Gilley, 2015). This research explores these systems in a specific lexicographic area: cattle nouns. Shilluk has an intricate cattle lexicon, possibly due to the importance of cattle to South Sudanese culture (Westermann, 1912). Documenting these nouns is vital due to their cultural importance and since many Sudanese languages are threatened by war, displacement and assimilation to Arabic (Evans, 2010). The primary question of this research investigates whether there are regularities in prefixation and number marking of cattle nouns. Prefixes are commonly used to signify the sex and age of the animal. However, a range of prefixes are used for different nouns, which may be phonologically conditioned or lexically specified. Suppletives are also common, where different stems are used in the female forms and male forms.