plural agreement for singular subjects

Stuart Robinson Stuart.Robinson at MPI.NL
Wed Jan 31 11:15:08 UTC 2007

It's unclear what the motivation is for the Rotokas agreement mismatch. 
I originally thought it might be a phenomenon that occurs only with neuter 
nouns that are semantically plural somehow (collective, mass, etc.).

For example, one might argue that the plural agreement in the examples
under (1) reflects a conceptualization of the subject as plural despite
being formally singular (or simply unmarked for number). But that doesn't
seem to work for examples like those in (2).


\ex Kovea-ia toupaivoi monia.
\xp Moni i stap long poket.
\xe The money is in the pocket.

\ex Uukoa pigigiopaivoi vova ukoto.
\xp Evava em spray out long diape tang wara.
\xe The water is spraying out of this ???.

\ex Itoo guruva urikovira toupaivoi.
\xp Lip bilong banana em i grin.
\xe Banana leaves are green.


\ex Avakapavira ravireo-ia tavaparai, easi upiavai ragai oupaivoi.
\xp Mi sindaun long san, na mi pilim olsem bai sik i kisim mi.
\xe I'm sunbathing, and sickness is getting me.

\ex Vevetovira rutu toupaivoi sigoa.
\xp Naip ia em i sap tru ia.
\xe The knife is very sharp.

\ex Rataoa karuvira toupai kepa-ia.
\xp Doa i op i stap long haus.
\xe The door on the house is open.


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