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Re: Number

From:Danny Wier <dawiertx@...>
Date:Sunday, March 7, 2004, 2:29
From: "Matthew Kehrt" <mkehrt@...>

> How do your various *langs partition number? > > The only ways I know of natlangs partitioning number are into singular and > plural, with perhaps a few additional, such as nullar, dual, trial or > paucal. However, my knowledge of such things is sadly lacking. Do any > natlanguages exist that do something radically different? > > For examply, my lang, Eviendadhail, has partitive, which is some number or > amount of some object or substance, and collective, which is all of that > object or substance. Does anyone do anything similar? > -M
Tech has two plurals, a feature I borrowed directly from Semitic languages like Arabic. The "sound plural" is a suffixed plural (-n) and indicates the meaning of "several", so it can represent a paucal form (at least three to about ten), or any finite number of items: k'tabn "books, some books" (k' = palatized k) sb k'tbani "seven books" (genitive suffix -i is used when a number is specified) The other plural is the "broken plural", formed by shifting the vowel within the word, and the vowel itself may change. It means a whole collection of an item, so it can be referred to as a "collective plural" kutwb "books, many books, library" (tw = labiovelarized t) kwl kutwbi "all books" (kw = labialized k) There is indeed a "negative" number, or actually an abessive case, marked by the prefix ma- "no" and the genitive suffix: mak'tabi "no book(s)". This same prefix also indicates a negative/prohibitive verb.