Number markers and numerals

Fedor Rojanski fedor at ILING.MSK.SU
Tue Mar 10 11:33:09 UTC 1998

     I had some thoughts on numerals  and  number  markers  that  were
shown  to  Edith  Moravcsik.  She  advised  me  to  place them in this

     It seems to  me  that  the  list  of  criteria,  which  allow  to
distinguish   number   markers   and  numerals  could  have  the  next

     1) If quantifying formative expresses another grammatical meaning
simultaneously it is rather a number marker than a numeral.
     For example:
      a) Latin (as well as other  languages  with  flexion  expressing
case and number)
     Sg. puer - Pl. puer-i

      b) Songay (Gao dialect)
     Sg. faar-o `the field' - Pl. faar-ey `the fields'
     In Songay affix shows number as soon as definiteness
     (compare: faari `a field' - faariyan `fields')

     2) If it is not possible to omit quantifying  formative  (without
replacing  it  with  another  one) it is rather a number marker than a
numeral.  (Of course this rule works only in one direction - if we can
omit formative it could be a number marker as soon as a numeral).

       faar-i hinka  `two fields'    ->   faari `field'
       faarey        `the fields'    ->   *faar-

                                              Fedor Rojanski
                                              Institute of Linguistics


More information about the Lingtyp mailing list