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Re: Number

From:claudio <claudio.soboll@...>
Date:Sunday, August 5, 2001, 20:37
good day.
when we see plural as the strict meaning of "this and others additional",
then the english "we" is acutally an "exclusive we" (which is used as incl we as connotation)
AND the inclusive we can be logically split up into a singular-incl.-we and a plural-incl.-we

this system is much more logical and consistent imo.

singular               |     plural
1st person:  i         |     1st person: we   ( = i + others)
2nd person:  you       |     2nd person: you  ( = you + others)
3rd person:  he,she,it |     3rd person: they ( = he,she,it + others)
comboperson: i + you   |     comboperson: [.] ( = i + you + others)

other opinions ?

MS> Hey all,

MS> I've been reading Greville Corbett's new book on Number (2001, Combridge
MS> University Press). I thought I would throw out some of the stuff in the
MS> book to whet some appetites and perhaps start some wheels turning in
MS> people's conlangs. Quenya gets a footnote on page 33 for the -ath plural,
MS> which actually has a natlang counterpart in the South Omotic language Hamer
MS> (spoken in Ethiopia).

MS> There are a rather limited range of number possibilities:
MS> singluar, plural, dual, trial, paucal (a few), greater paucal (a few more),
MS> and general (don't feel like marking number now, even though I could).
MS> There are apparently no quadrals (four) found in the world - he finds
MS> evidence that the claimed quadrals are really paucals.

MS> Rather than simply quantity, some number systems distinguish distributed
MS> all over the place from collected in one place.

MS> There is a heirarchy:
MS> first < second < third < kin < human < animate < inanimate
MS> (personally, I think inanimate should be split to < inanimate < abstract)
MS> If any given point on this heirarchy distinguishes a particular number,
MS> than all points to the left do so too. (standard typology caveats apply,
MS> ie, there are some exceptions)

MS> Now for some of my favorite systems that I've encountered so far.

MS> Somali:
MS>         singular        plural
MS> masc    kii             tii
MS> fem     tii             kii

MS> So the number/gender markers swap between singular and plural.

MS> Rembarrnga:
MS> Has a suffix that marks "one more than the logical minimum". Thus, when
MS> attached to second or third person it marks dual, and to first person
MS> exclusive it also marks dual, but to first person inclusive it marks trial.
MS> One more beyond the logical minimum is a normal plural. Ilocano has a
MS> slightly different system.

MS> Hopi:
MS> Both the subject and verb are marked for singular or plural. If both are
MS> marked as singular, you get a singular interpretation. If both are marked
MS> as plural, you get a plural interpretation. If you mark the noun as plural
MS> but the verb as singular, you get a dual interpretation. Similar systems
MS> are found in Zuni and Kawaiisu.

MS> Kiowa:
MS> The number morpheme indicates the inverse value, so it changes a singular
MS> to a plural but a plural to a singular. Example, the Kiowa word for 'horse'
MS> is inherently singular, and the inverse marking indicates plurality. On the
MS> other hand, the word for pole is inherently plural, and the same morpheme
MS> indicates singularity in this case.

MS> So, how is number expressed in your conlangs? (No need to repost, Tom.)

MS> Telek only marks number on the verb through subject and object agreement.
MS> Furthermore, only first, second, and animates show number; inanimates do
MS> not distinguish number at all.

MS> fylganal so-pajlo               vs.     fylganal as-pajlo
MS> The man is big.                 The men are big.

MS> debaal pajlo                            debaal pajlo
MS> The basket is big.                      The baskets are big.

MS> Gassik (a substantial reworking of Igassik, which I bludgeoned the list
MS> with a while back) indicates plurality by reduplicating the final consonant
MS> or vowel-consonant of the noun. This only applies to words that are in the
MS> human category or higher in the heirarchy given above.

nal >> nalal 'man(Nom)'
kutu >> kutut 'brother(Nom)'
takim >> takim 'hand(Nom)'

MS> Marcus Smith

MS> Unfortunately, or luckily,
MS> no language is tyrannically consistent.
MS> All grammars leak.
MS>                 -- Edward Sapir

"rurmlor entflöt, fluppseveri trimel akre wopel larf."
- alte redensart