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Re: Sound changes causing divergence of ordinals from cardinals

From:Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>
Date:Friday, January 6, 2006, 0:22
Chris Peters wrote:

> For those of you unfamiliar with Japanese: one set of roots is borrowed > from various dialects of Chinese. These roots are combined with suffixes > in > order to count objects -- the suffixes change based on the shape of the > object being counted. Therefore: > > "nihon" = two long, thin objects (pens, trees, neckties); > "nimai" = two thin, flat objects (pieces of paper, tickets, etc.); > "nisatsu" = two volumes (books, newspapers, magazines).
I assume that -hon, -mai, -satsu etc. have meanings ?? This is not unlike the Indonesian/Malay system (and I think widespread in Asia). Only the words with se- 'one' are written as one word: se/ekor (tail) animals se/lembar (cloth) flat, sheet-like things se/buah (fruit) round things in genl; also, generic for almost everything nowadays (houses, cars...) Older grammars (and related languages) have many more, but I suspect modern urbanized Indonesians are giving up the system. (If I can find my old XIX C. grammar of Buginese, I'll cite them... one curiosity in that lang., water-buffalo (but not other animals) are classified with _aju_ 'wood'.) I'm also recalling a lang. of Timor (?) that has two number systems, one of uncertain origin-- will hunt for that.


Chris Peters <beta_leonis@...>
Adam Walker <carrajena@...>