Fri Nov 6 01:41:49 UTC 1998

The two features of Hungarian that Edith Moravcsic mentions are
shared by Mari (Cheremis), a Uralic language spoken in the
Central Volga region of Russia. The language is also without a
system of classifiers.

The first of these two features is not so uncommon among the
world's languages as Edith appears to think it is. As a native
speaker of Japanese I consider it to be a natural part of my
world view :-)

Kazuto Matsumura
Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology
University of Tokyo
kmatsum at

> This is re Bingfu Lu's query about languages with no numeral classifiers
> and no obligatory plural marking on nouns.
> Hungarian is a language which has no numeral classifiers to speak of
> and, even though it does have a nominal plural affix, nouns
> do not always receive this affix when they have a plural referent. This
> is shown by the following:
>    a/ Paired body parts are routinely used in the singular even
> when they are meant to refer to both organs/limbs. Correspondingly, one
> can talk about "half an ear" in reference to one ear; or "half an arm" in
> reference to one arm!
>    b/ Following a numeral, the noun must be in the singular.
> Edith Moravcsik

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