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Re: Number

From:J Matthew Pearson <pearson@...>
Date:Saturday, August 4, 2001, 17:23
Marcus Smith wrote:

> So, how is number expressed in your conlangs?
Tokana does not mark number on nouns, but it does on determiners. Since determiners are only used in definite noun phrases, indefinite noun phrases do not distinguish number at all: te halma "the book" tse halma "the books" halma "a book" or "books" Tokana has a couple inherently plural nouns, _tenuh_ "people" and _lati_ "children" (these are unrelated to the basic forms, _koin_ and _pyi_, respectively; the latter words may be used as singulars or plurals). ne pyi "the child" se lati "the children" pyi "a child" or "children" lati "children" The inherently plural nouns are never used with quantifiers or numerals: se ehte pyi "the three children" (not *se ehte lati) Note finally that body parts which come in pairs have special 'dual' forms ending in _-ie_: inna "eye" inie "pair of eyes" nul "ear" nulie "ears" (There is one dual noun, _mosie_ "upper back, pair of shoulders", which lacks a singular counterpart; there is no word for just one shoulder.) These so-called 'dual' forms are actually grammatically singular nouns referring to a pair of objects. These forms occur with singular determiners when referring to a single pair, and plural determiners when referring to more than one pair: te inie "the pair of eyes" (e.g., te iniena "his/her eyes") tse inie "the pairs of eyes" (e.g., tse iniesa "their eyes") Matt.