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Re: No plural morpheme

From:Douglas Koller <laokou@...>
Date:Saturday, November 24, 2007, 16:46
From: Chris Rettstatt <rettstatt@...>

> I'm not sure about Japanese, but I know Chinese does this, and it > seems to have worked pretty well for them for a very long time.
> On Nov 24, 2007 6:34 AM, caeruleancentaur <caeruleancentaur@...> wrote:
> > I'm trying to keep Senjecan grammar as uncluttered as possible. I > > thought that I might not use a plural morpheme if the plurality of the > > noun was obvious as when, say, a number qualified the noun.
> > What are your experiences with this in either a natlang or your > > conlang? I believe that Japanese does this.
To my way of thinking, Chinese and Japanese (and I'd imagine Korean and probably some other Asian languages) don't really have grammatical plural. That said, let me qualify: Mandarin has the plural suffix, "-men2" (usually in the neutral tone, but sometimes second tone, at least in Taiwan), obligatory with personal pronouns: wo3 I wo3men we ni3 you ni3men you guys ta1 he/she/it ta1men they optional with other nouns referring to humans: ren2men people (the only monosyllabic noun that can take the suffix) hai2zimen children lao3shi1men teachers tong2zhi4men comrades et alia Usage is extremely limited. Analogously in Cantonese is "-dei6": ngoh5 I ngoh5dei6 we lei5 you lei5dei6 you guys kui5 he/she/it kui5dei6 they yan4dei6 people but I don't think other possibilities exist, limiting it further than "-men2". Shanghainese and Taiwanese don't even have this; plural pronouns are different words. I suppose the Mandarin classifier, "yi1xie1", (Cantonese: "yat1di1" ?), "a few/several" compels one to think in terms of plural, but beyond that, I don't think Chinese really marks plurality. So, too, with Japanese. "-tachi" with pronouns: watashi I watashitachi we anata you anatatachi you guys optionally with humans: joseitachi women but also with animals and even plants (rare): inutachi dogs shokubutsutachi plants "-domo", used in a deprecatory sense: watashidomo we humble ones "-gata", used in an honorific sense: anatagata you esteemed ones reduplication with a handful of nouns for an indeterminate plural: hitobito people yamayama mountains wareware we None of this is what I understood Charlie to mean with regard to Senjecan. What came to *my* mind was Hungarian, which does mark grammatical plural on nouns and verbs, unless the noun is modified by a number or words like "sok (many)," "kev