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Re: Paleoasiatic (was: Favourite Language Group?)

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Monday, September 9, 2002, 3:03
Tim May scripsit:

> I don't dispute that this is a probable explanation for the facts > before us, and I have no alternative hypothesis. We are, however, > theorizing from limited data.
Here's what I've been able to glean by googling: # Radical reduction can be observed in a complex system of numerals # formerly divided into twenty-six classes. Currently the speakers remember # the numeral forms no more than of six classes, making a distinction # between numerals referring to people, animals, small objects, dried fish, # days, and all other objects. ( # The use of Cl[assifier]s is common in the languages of East and Southeast # Asia; examples are Chinese, Burmese, Thai, and Khmer. It is also common # in Aus- tronesian, especially among Oceanic languages. Chamorro, for # instance, uses Cls (exclusively) with possessives, while Mokilese, # Ponapean, Trukese, and Woleaian use them with numerals, as in the # Chinese example (5b), and also with possessives. Indonesian has only # numeral classifiers. Several Mesoamerican families also contain Cl- # languages. These include the Mayan languages (Chontal, Yucatec, and # Tzeltal, for instance), as well as Tarascan and the Totonac languages # of the Totonac- Tepehua family. A form of possessive classifier occurs # in some Otomanguean languages. Numeral classifiers also occur in the # isolated Siberian language Nivkh. In addition, classifiers appear in a # variety of constructions in certain Australian languages. Even some # Indo-European languages contain simple classifier systems. Persian, # for instance, has a few nouns that are commonly inserted after numerals. # While relatively little of the classifying function remains in Persian # (such constructions are a relic of an older, richer system), the # similarity to other Cl-systems is clear. ( # In the Siberian language Nivkh (or Gilyak) nouns can be derived from # verbs simply by changing the initial consonant (see (i)), and likewise # transitive and intransitive verbs are often related solely by mutation # (see (ii)): # # (i) vut^y id^y 'sweep' put^yis 'broom' # fady 'put on knee-piece' phad^y 'knee-piece' # # (ii) gesqod^y 'burn NP' kesqod^y 'burn oneself' # zod^y 'bend' t^yod^y 'bend' # (C^y = palatalized C, Ch = aspirated C) ( -- John Cowan "You need a change: try Canada" "You need a change: try China" --fortune cookies opened by a couple that I know


Tim May <butsuri@...>