The following is a summary of the grammar sketch of Kemedzung (Smoes, C. L. 2010. A Sketch Grammar of the Kemezung Language. Yaoundé: SIL).


The Kemedzung nouns are divided in noun classes. Noun class refers to a system of classification in which all nouns are grouped, with the nouns of each group or class receiving an affix belonging to its class. Noun gender refers to noun class pairings, usually singular and plural forms of the same noun. Kemedzung nouns belong to seven distinct genders. Most nouns consist of a prefix indicating the noun class, followed by the stem.





The different singular-plural pairs are the following:









Exceptions are noun genders 3/4, 5/6 and 9/10. The gender of nouns that belong to class 3/4 is indicated by the presence or absence of labialization of the initial consonant.

kpɔŋ                                kɔŋ

C3.ridge                          C4.ridge

‘ridge’                              ‘ridges’


The majority of class 5 nouns maintain the full root in the plural. Some polysyllabic forms undergo a deletion of the final syllable of the noun root.

gɨlɨ                                   gɨ

C5.egg                             C6.egg

‘egg’                                ‘eggs’


The distinction between singular and plural for gender 9/10 nouns is made by tone. The singular forms have relative low tone and plural forms are marked with relative high tone.

tsɔŋ                                 tsɔ́ŋ               

‘house’                            ‘houses’


Nouns may be derived from verbs by adding a noun class prefix. In many cases a nominalizing prefix (m, n or ŋ) is also present, immediately before the stem. The resulting noun belongs to noun class 7/8 or 14/25.





A diminutive can be made by removing the normal noun class marker and replacing it with the prefix fi- or min- (noun class 19 and 26).

bə-naŋ                             min-naŋ

C2-cow                            C26-cow

‘cows’                              ‘tiny cows’


Nouns may also be derived from adjectives by adding a noun class prefix. The resulting nouns belongs to gender 14/25.





The noun phrase consists of a noun followed by a number of optional constituents:

Noun (possessor) (demonstrative) (numeral) (quantifier) (adjective) (relative clause)

All these constituents, except the relative clause, take a noun class concord prefix with agrees with the noun. Relative clauses are preceded by a relative pronoun, which corresponds to the class of the noun.



Verbs may occur with subject agreement marking, only with the first person singular, an infinitive prefix, an imperfective aspect suffix and a negative suffix in the following order:

(AGR- or Inf-) stem (-Impf) (-Neg3)





Mɨn          na        m-ba-tɨ                      bə-loko

1SG         Pres     1SG-uproot-Impf     C2-cassava


‘I am uprooting a cassava’

Wə           ŋəŋ      lə         n-dio              bu-dio             ndziŋ-ɛ                       hɛ

2SG         see       Comp  Inf-fight         C14-fight        be.good-Neg3           Neg2

‘You see that fighting is not good’


The bare form of a verb often refers to the immediate past.

Yo            da        bi-diəŋ

3SG         cook    C8-food

‘She has cooked food’


The verb phrase consists of at least one verb and has a number of optional constituents:

(TAM:Past, Present)) (Neg1) Verb (Neg1) (Neg2) (TAM:Future) (Neg2) (Neg1)


Yo             nə        kə        fiət-ə              mɨ       bi-diəŋ               fɔfɔ                 

3SG          P2       Neg1   cook-Neg3     1SG.O  C8-food           quickly           Neg1

‘He did not cook food for me very quickly’


A clause consist of at least a subject followed by a verb phrase and may be followed by one or more of the following:


Subject Verb phrase (Indirect object) (Direct object) (Adpositional phrase) (Adverbial phrase)

́[Yo]        [nə        kə        fiət-ə               [mɨ]    [bi-diəŋ]         [fɔfɔ]               kə]]

3SG        P2        Neg1   cook-Neg3     1SG.O  C8-food       quickly           Neg1

‘He did not cook food for me very quickly’