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Re: Number

From:Yoon Ha Lee <yl112@...>
Date:Saturday, August 4, 2001, 22:25
On Saturday, August 4, 2001, at 12:45 AM, Marcus Smith wrote:

> I've been reading Greville Corbett's new book on Number (2001, Combridge > University Press). I thought I would throw out some of the stuff in the > book to whet some appetites and perhaps start some wheels turning in > people's conlangs. Quenya gets a footnote on page 33 for the -ath plural, > which actually has a natlang counterpart in the South Omotic language > Hamer > (spoken in Ethiopia). >
<Squirm> Forgive my ignorance, but what's the -ath plural do?
> Now for some of my favorite systems that I've encountered so far. > > Somali: > singular plural > masc kii tii > fem tii kii > > So the number/gender markers swap between singular and plural. >
<blink> Neat! And surely an incentive to learn genders. >:) Heck, all the systems you list are neat. I wish I had something so original. <sigh>
> So, how is number expressed in your conlangs? (No need to repost, Tom.)
> Gassik (a substantial reworking of Igassik, which I bludgeoned the list > with a while back) indicates plurality by reduplicating the final > consonant > or vowel-consonant of the noun. This only applies to words that are in the > human category or higher in the heirarchy given above. > > nal > nalal 'man(Nom)' > kutu > kutut 'brother(Nom)' > takim > takim 'hand(Nom)' >
Funfun. :-) (Okay, that doesn't work, but...) Czevraqis doesn't generally mark number at all, though you can specify using actual (?) numbers, e.g. czu mehara [tSu meha*a] (using Kirschenbaum) two riddle(s) or suggested using demonstratives, e.g. cziron mehara [tSi*on mehara] all-kinds-of riddle ame mehara [ame meha*a] some (impersonal) riddle(s) rime mehara [*ime meha*a] no (impersonal) riddle(s) The next closest thing to number-marking actually marks a collection/collective, a set or group that is logical in the context being spoken/written of, "nio" [nio] (from "niyo," or "hand"; the number 5 is "ni"), e.g. Nio na qaiczarev varaie. collective 1st person salute:habitual past reportive 3rd person:personal [nio na xaItSaref varaIje] I/we-as-a-part-of-a-group (habitually, usually, often) saluted him/her. In this case, the person speaking is probably a soldier, so you could translate it instead I-as-a-soldier. If this person were no longer a soldier, s/he might use just "na" (and its variants) to refer to him-/herself. Pronouns are easily dropped when their referents are clear in context, so nio [na] qaiczarev [varaie] is just as possible. Other possible uses of nio: nio ketaera [nio keteI*a] = an ensemble of musicians nio jenara [nio dZena*a] = a brace of daggers etc. YHL


daniel andreasson <daniel.andreasson@...>