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Plural numbers (was Re: Ebisedian number system (I))

From:Josh Roth <fuscian@...>
Date:Wednesday, July 17, 2002, 21:28
In a message dated 7/17/02 3:34:55 PM, jaspax@U.WASHINGTON.EDU writes:

>H. S. Teoh sikyal: > >> y'i zero >> kei' one >> 3jei' two >> 3rei' three >> 3dei' four >> 3Pei' five >> 3sei' six >> 3Tei' seven >> 3Cei' eight >> 3Kee'i nine. >> >> For numbers 2 through 9, the 3- prefix is simply the Ebisedian plural >> prefix; in compounds, this 3- is dropped. (_3_ is [@\], not to be confused >> with the number "3" :-).) > >The 3- prefix seems odd to me. I don't know of any language that >regularly marks numbers themselves as plural (although words modified by >numbers may be mandatorily plural). It also is semantically >dubious--"eight" is not a plural concept, but a single concept that >denotes a collection of other things, like "herd" or "pile."
Even if you see it as a single concept, does it make any less sense than other redundant number marking, whether on determiners like "this" and "these", or adjectives? I can see numbers as a single concept, but I can also see them as a plural one. Perhaps in languages that differ on this, the numbers really express different things. In Eloshtan, whatever refers to more than one of something must be marked to show that. So the number "eight", "yorak", has the plural ending. It does not refer to "a collection", but to eight individuals, and is a truly plural concept - it could be translated as "things, which number eight". And Ebisedian could be the same way. At least, that's how it seems to me. Can you prove otherwise? Numbers can also go the other way in Eloshtan: if you say just "yora", without the plural ending, it can only apply to a singular noun, and means "eighth." Josh Roth