Composed number (also called "double plural")

Hewitt, Stephen s.hewitt at UNESCO.ORG
Tue Oct 13 06:30:20 UTC 2009


>Dear Bernhard,
>
>The best and most accessible summary of the Breton data is now in Paolo Acquaviva, Lexical Plurals: A Morphosemantic Approach, OUP, 2008, chapter 8 "The system of Breton plural nouns" pp. 234-65. Google books preview at:
>
>http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=VwY-4QzbtmIC&pg=PA234&lpg=PA234&dq=breton+plural&source=bl&ots=ufXuPA3cN7&sig=1iTcMqiMC8e9ZBNRxOLhA99Slvc&hl=en&ei=QRbUSpahNNDLjAeaqtyABA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAsQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=breton%20plural&f=false
>
>The only thing I would add about Breton is that the seminal study by native-speaker linguist Per Trépos, Le Pluriel breton, Imprimeries réunies, Rennes, 1956 / Emgleo Breiz, Brest, 1957, suggests to non-initiates a rather more pervasive systematization of complex interaction between collective/singulative/(individuated plural), singular/plural, plurale tantum/plural of plurale tantum, etc. than is actually the case. The proportion of nouns having more than a straightforward singular/plural distinction is relatively low. While certain common derivational patterns, such as collective gwer "glass, glasses", singulative gwerenn "glass", individuated plural of singulative gwerennoù "several individual glasses", or bragoù "pair of trousers" (plurale tantum), bragoioù/brageier "pairs of trousers" may indeed be discerned, on the whole it seems best to restrict these to the lexicon, as they are not fully productive.
>
>Best,
>
>Steve Hewitt
>s.hewitt at unesco.org
>
> 
>
>
>
> 
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Discussion List for ALT [mailto:LINGTYP at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG] On Behalf Of Bernhard Waelchli
>Sent: 12 October 2009 17:47
>To: LINGTYP at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG
>Subject: Composed number (also called "double plural")
>
>Dear typologists,
>
>Does anybody know of more languages with double nominal plural (or
>dual/trial/paucal) marking where both plural (or dual/trial/paucal) markers added to the same noun express different kinds of plurality/duality? This is called "composed numbers" in Corbett (2000: 
>36, "number built as it were on another"). I mean cases such as, e.g.:
>
>(a) X-PL 'Xs',
>X-PL-PL 'different groups/sets of Xs, large quantities of X'
>
>(b) X-PL 'a plurale tantum X',
>X-PL-PL 'a plural of a plurale tantum X'
>
>Paraphrasing the question for the specific (b)-kind:
>Does anybody know languages where pluralia/dualia tantum can be pluralized just by adding another plural/dual marker?
>
>I know of the following languages with composed numbers (or groups of
>languages): Ful, Burushaski, Breton, Warekena, and Mongolian. It has also been reported for Khamtanga (Chamir, Agaw, Cushitic), and Arabic. 
>According to Corbett (2000: 36) composed number is rare, but I am rather confident that somebody of you knows about some more examples of a similiar kind as those:
>
>Ful (Adamawa) (Klingenheben 1963: 139)
>nagge 'cow[SG] > cow'
>na'i 'cow[PL] > cows'
>na'i-ije 'cow[PL]-PL > groups/flocks of cows'
>
>Burushaski (Lorimer 1935: 46)
>ts>ə>riš SG 'one part of a door frame'
>ts>ə>r>ʌ>ŋ PL 'one complete doorframe'
>ts>ə>r>ʌ>ŋ->či>ŋ DOUBLE-PL 'door frames'
>
>Breton (Ternes 1992: 415; Corbett 2000: 36) bugel 'child > child'
>bugal-e 'child-PL > children'
>bugal-e-o>ù 'child-PL-PL > groups of children'
>
>Warekena (Aikhenvald 1998: 300-4; Corbett 2000: 37) abida-pe 'pig-PL > pigs'
>abida-nawi 'pig-GREATER.PL > very many pigs'
>abida-pe-nawi 'pig-PL-GREATER.PL > very many pigs indeed, too many to count'
>
>Khalkha Mongolian (Poppe 1970; Plank, 1985: Linguistics 23.45-82) lam>ə> [SG] 'lama'
>lam>ə>-n>ə>r PL 'lamas'
>lam>ə>-n>ə>r-uud PL-PL 'highly esteemed lamas'
>
>(As far as I know, no triple plural with three different kinds of plural meanings has been reported. Or does somebody have any?)>
>
>(I am NOT interested in this query in the more common case of two or more distinct plural suffixes expressing just a single kind of plurality, such as in Dutch _kind-er-en_ 'children' [or etymologically English _child-r-en_] or the more spectacular case of Breton diminutives, Stump 1990, Corbett 2000: 152)
>
>Many thanks in advance!
>
>Bernhard Waelchli
>University of Bern
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