associative plurals

Edith A Moravcsik edith at CSD.UWM.EDU
Sat Sep 29 18:20:57 UTC 2001

Dear Claude,

Thank you very much for the wonderful examples of associative plurals =
and related constructions! As you pointed out, French dialectal examples =
are particularly interesting for the reason that you mentioned: that a =
prepositional phrase functions as a subject!

The various examples that you cited are indeed all related although we =
(Misha Daniel and I)do make a distinction between associative plurals =
and other instances of what we call representational plurals. In =
associative plurals, such as your example from Poitou-Charente French: =
_chez tonton Paul sont venues_, "at uncle Paul's place have come" 'Uncle =
Paul and his family have come to visit us', the operative relations =
defining the plural set are
both similarity and grouphood: Paul's family consists of people who make =
a group; while in, say, Russian, _koren'ja_ 'vegetables' refers to =
things that are similar to -koren'- 'root' but not necessarily =
clustering with it.

The Ainu associative plural that you mentioned, involving a possessive =
marker and a plural marker, recalls Georgian and Hungarian, among =
others: in these languages, too, the associative plural marker has these =

Many thanks again - Edith

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