comrie at eva.mpg.de
Tue Apr 5 07:00:16 UTC 2011
For the world-wide distribution of some aspects of this phenomenon, see
the relevant chapter in WALS, available at http://wals.info/feature/36.
On 11/04/05 04:59, David Tuggy wrote:
> Hello, all,
> I'm interested in a phenomenon that I understand some to have called
> "associative plurality", in which a plural does not designate a group
> of items all properly designated by the pluralized nominal entity but
> rather a group of items associated with such a nominal entity. It
> shows up dramatically in pluralized personal names, where something
> like _the Alices_ will mean not 'the group of people each called
> "Alice"' but rather 'Alice and those associated with her (i.e. her
> bunch/family/team/crew/party/etc.)' In Orizaba Nawatl (nlv), for
> New͎itzeh n ichpopochtih koxamo tlahtlaniskeh inka n Samueltih.
> yonder.they.come the girl.pl whether they.will.ask with.them the
> Those girls that are coming over there are probably going to ask after
> Samuel and his friends.
> Here girl.pl is a normal plural, meaning 'group of people each of
> which is a girl', but Samuel.pl is associative. Note too the plurality
> of the 'agreement-marker' postpositional object in the word
> 'with.them': sometimes that kind of thing is the only marker for an
> associative plural in Orizaba: _Samuel inkal_ (Samuel their.house)
> means 'the house of Samuel's family/group'.
> My two main questions:
> (1) How widespread a phenomenon is this? What languages allow an
> associative plural for proper names? (Are there any varieties of
> English/Spanish/etc. that allow it?) Do they also allow a
> standard-plural interpretation?
> (2) What other kinds of nominal entities show something similar? E.g.
> in my English _dishes_ often means 'dishes [= plates] and other such
> things, e.g. silverware, glasses, pots & pans'; does that count? Does
> any language allow associative plurals for just any noun? What about
> 1st and 2nd person plural pronouns, where perhaps only one person is
> speaker or addressee, but another group is associated with that person
> to make the plurality. Does any language *not* allow an associative
> plural meaning for them? Does any language distinguish a 'multiple
> speaker' 1pl pronoun from an associative one?
> Pointers to any good discussions of this in the literature would be
> appreciated as well.
> —David Tuggy
Prof. Dr. Bernard Comrie
Director, Department of Linguistics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Distinguished Professor of Linguistics, University of California Santa Barbara
E-mail: comrie at eva.mpg.de
Home page: http://www.eva.mpg.de/lingua/staff/comrie.php
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
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