number markers and numerals

Edith A Moravcsik edith at CSD.UWM.EDU
Mon Mar 16 15:35:22 UTC 1998

Dear ALT colleagues,

This is in response to Fedor Rojanski's message posted on Tuesday, March l0.
In it, Fedor proposed two criteria for distinguishing number markers
(such as a plural affix) and numerals (such as 'two' or 'forty')
to complement the list of such criteria proposed earlier in
a message by Grev Corbett, Alan Dench, David Gil, and me.

The FIRST of the two proposed criteria is whether the quantifying formative
also expresses some grammatical meaning other than quantity - such
as case or number. The SECOND is whether the quantifying formative
is needed for grammaticality or may be omitted (without replacing a
given formative with another one of its category). Fedor suggested
that quantifying formatives expressing other grammatical meanings are
number markers rather than numerals; and that obligatory quantifying
formatives are, again, number markers rather than numerals.

It seems to me that the SECOND criterion is useful in that it
does seem to cluster with additional ones serving to identify number
markers versus numerals. The obligatoriness property of number
markers bears out the fact that they are grammaticalized constituents.

The first criterion, however, seems more problematic: constituents
that, on other grounds, seem to be numerals rather than number
markers can carry gender and case, such as 'two'in Latin:

          _duo_     NOM MASC or NEUT
          _duae_    NOM FEM
          _duos_    ACC MASC
          _duas_    ACC FEM

Edith Moravcsik

				 Edith A. Moravcsik
				 Department of Linguistics
			         University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
				 Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413

				 E-mail: edith at
				 Telephone: (414) 229-6794 /office/
					    (414) 332-0141 /home/
			         Fax: (414) 229-6258


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