words for words and languages

Bill McGregor linwmg at HUM.AU.DK
Tue Feb 10 16:57:29 UTC 2004

To Claire's counterexample, as far as I am aware, the same remarks hold
for all Nyulnyulan languages -- obligatory number agreement on verbs for
subject, object, and oblique, as well as in free pronouns. Other nearby
languages could be added including Gooniyandi, where there is a single
word for 'language', 'word', and 'mouth'. On the other hand, for
inanimates and abstracts cross-referencing is typically via the third
person singular form.

Perhaps with some reformulation of the proposal would work -- at minimum,
restriction of the grammatical number category to nominals. Another
possibility might be in terms of lack of distinction between mass and
count nouns, which would be consistent with Yury's semantic explanation.

Prof. William McGregor,
Aarhus Universitet,
Institut for Lingvistik,
Nobel Park,
Jens Chr. Skous Vej 7
DK-8000 Aarhus C
Ph. 45 89 42 65 59
Fax 45 89 42 65 70
e:mail: linwmg at hum.au.dk

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