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Re: Number

From:dirk elzinga <dirk.elzinga@...>
Date:Monday, August 6, 2001, 21:25
On Mon, 6 Aug 2001, SMITH,MARCUS ANTHONY wrote:

> On Mon, 6 Aug 2001, J Matthew Pearson wrote: > > > I wouldn't be surprised if some language somewhere distinguished the > > collective and distributive interpretations grammatically--either by using > > different quantifiers (my conlang Tokana does this), or perhaps by using > > different plural markers. Maybe some or all of the languages which Marcus > > was referring to actually work like this. Then there are languages which > > allow you to pluralise the verb itself to indicate multiple events; in such > > languages, "Everybody went to the village" could be disambiguated by just > > looking at the number marking on the verb. > > In Pima, the verb is reduplicated to show plurality of the objects > according to rules that are not completely clear at this point. There is > some evidence suggesting that being distributed across the objects is > relevant. For example, if you beat two dogs, the verb does not > reduplicate, but if you beat a dog and a cat, the verb does reduplicate. > (Sorry for the violent examples -- I didn't elicit them.) One the other > hand, there are instances where you get reduplication with a single type > of noun. This is an area that needs more work, but it does support your > claim somewhat. (BTW, 'go' does reduplicate for the subject, so your > example sentences might be very relevant.)
Did you beat both dogs at the same time? In that case, there was one beating event, hence a singular. I can imagine that this reading is easier to get when you're talking about two dogs than when you're talking about a dog and a cat. Dirk -- Dirk Elzinga "The strong craving for a simple formula has been the undoing of linguists." - Edward Sapir