|From:||taliesin the storyteller <taliesin@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, August 7, 2001, 11:33|
* Marcus Smith said on 2001-08-04 09:45:50 +0200
> I've been reading Greville Corbett's new book on Number (2001, Combridge
> University Press). [..] 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).
Cool! That a conlang is mentioned in such a way in a scholarly work I
mean, as I've met linguists who freak out a little at the thought of
conlanging and conlangers.
> Rather than simply quantity, some number systems distinguish distributed
> all over the place from collected in one place.
Like klingon/tlhIngan -mey as in _jatmey_ "scattered tongues" :)
> So, how is number expressed in your conlangs?
târuven is quite boring, number-wise. Only nouns (and pronouns) are
marked for number, -an for dual, -in for quintal/paucal, -en for
generic plural. Number-marking is never required; if there already
is some other way of conveying number/amount in the phrase, marking
the noun is redundant.
-in is handy, though. It means "five", "more than two and less than
six", "the natural/default amount of a bodypart or living thing"
and/or "so few you can tell them apart at a glance" depending on
context. If you talk about fingers of a human hand it means five, had
it been the hand of Mickey Mouse it would have meant four. -in cats is
all the cats of the same litter, -in children is all the children of a
family (or the sibs born at the same time if bearing more than one
child at a time is normal). Because of that, -en sometimes have the
connotation of "more than expected".
Furthermore, there's aì- for marking the lack/zero number of
something. This one contrasts with ë-, which means that the something
doesn't exist at all, anywhere. There's also -Vm (reduplicated vowel
if the word ends in a consonant) for marking a set (making a singular/
mass noun for a collection, one can use it for "all of the Xes"), -na
for marking a subset ("some of the Xes/a faction within X"), and -ax
for marking a member of a set that isn't a set itself ("one of the
Xes"). The set can contain both animate and inanimate nouns with
these. -in can only mark sets of animate nouns.