I've just come across the concept of relational nouns, and I'm curious if Swahili's position-indicating words count.
In Swahili, there's a possessive particle -a that joins nouns together. For example:
- ki-tabu ch-a mw-anafunzi
C7-book C7-POSS C1-student"the student's book"
- m-toto w-a ∅-paka
C1-child C1-POSS C9-cat"kitten"
- ch-umba ch-a ku-lala
C7-room C7-POSS C15-sleep"bedroom"
This particle is also used when indicating location:
- ∅-paka i-ko n-dani y-a ∅-sanduku
C9-cat C9-is.located C9-inside C9-POSS C9-box"the cat is in the box"
- ki-tabu ki-ko ∅-juu y-a ∅-meza
C9-book C9-is.located C9-above C9-POSS C9-table"the book is on the table"
Does this make words like ndani and juu "relational nouns"? If not, why not? I've traditionally heard them called "adverbs", and the entire phrase does seem to act as an adverb, but the relation-words have grammatical gender (and trigger agreement) which I would never expect from an adverb.
C#- in the gloss indicates grammatical gender marking; Swahili has too many genders to make up a new abbreviation for each one.
P.P.S. I'm only interested in these relational words; Swahili can indicate location in other ways, such as using genders 16-18, but those aren't important here.