classifier and plural morphology
gil at EVA.MPG.DE
Wed Nov 11 19:09:40 UTC 1998
On Audrey's conjectures:
> Is it possible that the order of Number, Classifier and Noun may also play
> a role in the use of plural morphology? I wonder if the following
> generalization is true:
> If the word order is Number + Classifier + Noun, the Noun does not take
> plural morphology (e.g., Chinese)
A *partial* counterexample to this is Standard Malay. Classifiers are
optional; number marking, via reduplication, is optional; word order is free;
BUT the most common word order is like Chinese, Number + Classifier + Noun.
A somewhat different partial counterexample is Vietnamese, in which
classifiers are nearly obligatory. In Vietnamese there is a so-called plural
word _cac_, which of course is optional. But figuring out word boundaries in
Southeast Asian languages is notoriously difficult -- so even though it's
*written* as a separate word, I don't know whether it really is one, as
opposed to, say, a proclitic or even prefix.
Come to think about it, what about the Mandarin plural marker _xie_, usually
occurring in the collocation _yi xie_: what are its wordhood properties?
> If the word order is Noun + Number + Classifier, the noun can take plural
> morphology (e.g., Korean, Burmese)
Here Thai is a clear counterexample: Noun + Number + Classifier word order,
but no plural morphology.
PS I'm afraid I haven't got Audrey's email asddress; perhaps Bingfu would be
so kind as to forward this to her.
Department of Linguistics
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Inselstrasse 22, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany
Email: gil at eva.mpg.de
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