'such as' (similative) plurals and associative plurals

Michael Daniel daniel at QUB.COM
Mon Sep 3 22:06:18 UTC 2001

I want to make several points:

I support Edith's opinion that 'the Newtons' is not an ASP.

Edith A Moravcsik wrote:

> Expressions such as "the Shakespeares" or "the Newtons" do indeed differ
> from "the Smiths" etc.

2. Is it not true that in European 'stylish' usages as "the Newtons" = 'people
like Newton', Newton himself is normally not included? (Like in "Newtons are
not born every day"). But probably it is only characteristic of Russian; native
speakers of other European languages should comment on that point.

3. I feel that even in echo-formation which are mentioned by Anvita and which
are of course an exemplary case of what we discuss under 'such as' plurals the
inclusion of the referent of the stem is not necessary. When I say something
like "pen-men" = 'pens and alike' what I actually do is I use a notion of the
pen as a prototype of a large class of objects. When I say something like "I
don't need these pen-men" it does not suggest necessarily that what they want
me to take is 'pen + other objects' - it is simply a representative of a class
whose prototype is a pen. At least, that was my impression from the examples of
echo formation and the similar which I met in the literature. Probably Anvita
could help with that.

> It is interesting that Amharic -i:nna: is used both for the associative
> plural and also for constructions such as "the Newtons".

As I am learning too late, at least in several Turkic languages 'similative
plurals' of the kind 'the Newtons' and ASP of the kind 'Newton and his
associates' are identically expressed by general plural suffix (Chuvash,

Michael Daniel

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