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Questions tagged [grammatical-number]

The aspects of grammar which reflect singular versus plural but also others more exotic like dual and paucal.

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1answer
103 views

How common is the “elliptical dual” (or plural) cross-linguistically?

This question on Latin.SE asks about the "elliptical dual", a construction where the dual number doesn't mean "two X" but instead "X and one other". For example, in the Iliad, Aíant-e Ajax-DUAL means ...
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1answer
94 views

Are there any languages that mark plural before the noun, while everything else comes after?

There's a lot of head-final languages where everything precedes the noun except for the number (Japanese is one example). But are there any that do the reverse? Is there a language where number ...
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1answer
96 views

Inclusive pronouns—can there be more than one?

Many languages have two forms of the pronoun "we": an inclusive one and an exclusive one. In the examples I am aware of, there is just one inclusive we, meaning "i/we and you (sg./pl.)". Are there ...
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1answer
51 views

“Who lives there” vs “Who live there?” [closed]

I'm a bit confused as to the proper grammar when posing the following question. "Who lives there?" <- seems to imply just one person "Who live there?" <- seems to imply more than one person ...
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2answers
68 views

Is there a language where in declension number is affixed peripherally to case?

Is there a language where, given that number and case are affixed seperately not fusionally, a noun can have the structure of , e.g. ithawen = itha-w-en [woman]+GEN+PL ("of the women, the women's")? I ...
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0answers
99 views

Is there a purely singulative-collective language?

I wanted to ask "Is there a language that marks singular?" but found this. So instead, I'm asking: Are there any purely singulative-collective languages? The (admittedly abstract) idea behind this is ...
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0answers
118 views

Are there any languages with different plural forms for different numbers?

Are there any languages where there are different plural forms depending on the count? For example: 1 cook 2 cooks 10 cooks (this would be a different word)
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1answer
633 views

Why is the word “God” plural in some languages?

In Hebrew religious texts there are several different ways to refer to God (capital G). Some of these words, such as Elohim or Adonai are plural forms although it is clear that Judaism is monotheistic....
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2answers
104 views

Which modern languages have more than two grammatical categories for numbers?

As stated in the title. I aware that some languages have some remnants of dual grammtical numbers.
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6answers
2k views

Languages without plural markings

Are there languages where nouns are invariable? As I have read such languages simply use a numeral in front of the unchanged noun. They don't say "five cats", but "five cat" or "five tail cat". I ...
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4answers
248 views

Are there languages that form noun singulars by adding suffixes to plurals, rather than vice versa?

In languages that express grammatical number in nouns with suffixes, usually there is either a suffix added to an unsuffixed singular to form the plural (cat—cats), or the suffix (or inflectional ...
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4answers
805 views

How common is it for languages to use the plural for zero?

In English, when you use "no" or "zero" to indicate a lack of something, the noun is plural: I have no horses. There are no houses for sale. This costs zero dollars. How common is this across ...
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0answers
100 views

Languages with 0 Number?

Languages that conjugate nominals for singular vs. plural number are quite common across the world. Languages which also have a dual conjugation are also fairly common. But is there any language which ...
3
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1answer
303 views

Subject/Complement Agreement. How to describe problem with “The thing is the objects.”

In https://ell.stackexchange.com/questions/29140/is-or-are-the-only-thing-that-i-want-you-to-hit-right-now-is-are-the-books/29170#29170, I provided the following, problematic, wording (especially ...
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0answers
93 views

What is the term for a noun that stands for more than one portion of an uncountable referent?

A noun that refers to one countable thing is singular. A noun that stands for one countable portion, part, or unit of some non-countable thing is singulative. See http://www-01.sil.org/...
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2answers
141 views

What are the other types of grammatical numbers different from those determined by 'quantity of items'?

Different languages have different grammatical numbers. For most IE languages, these are Singular, Plural and, sometimes, Dual. Other languages have grammatical numbers differentiated by the quantity ...
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1answer
273 views

Are the demonstrative determiners “this” & “that” inflected to become “these” & “those” or are they different lexemes altogether?

If I'm not mistaken, nouns (and nominals) are the only words that can inflect for grammatical number. E.g.: cat (Sg), cats (Pl); writing (Sg), writings (Pl). "This" and "that" as singular ...
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1answer
116 views

Singular versus plural in certain locutions: Is there a name for this?

I wouldn't touch that idea with a ten-foot pole. He's a tool maker. In Germany, Catholics and Lutherans pay a church tax. The zebra stripes indicate a pedestrian crossing. He is a resident of an ...
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2answers
130 views

What are the main criteria for a grammar mistake to become a new normative?

I am conducting a small research on the usage of dual in the Czech language. Normally, the dual is used only when referring to body parts (legs, eyes, knees etc) and the number 200. However, in spoken ...
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2answers
164 views

Are there any languages in which grammatical number changes word order?

This has implications for programmatic localization. The example below isn't universally valid if, for some language, the noun placement must change, or the numerical adjective must be split from the ...
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17answers
2k views

Do any languages form plural pronouns by adding a suffix to the singular form?

Are there languages whose plural pronouns ('we', 'they', etc.) are formed from singular pronouns ('I', 'he', etc.) plus a plural marker? For example, if English were such a language, instead of "we" ...
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3answers
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What kind of pluralisation system does Welsh use?

Many nouns in Welsh have a the plural form that is shorter than the singular form (i.e. the singular form looks like the plural form + affix). For example: Singular coeden 'tree' seren 'star' ...
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1answer
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What are the different types of counting conjugations? [closed]

Different languages conjugate their nouns or verbs based on the number that they are referring to. For example, in languages such as English and French, there are two distinctions--singular and plural....
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2answers
496 views

Proper terminology for the types of dual

I was reading an article about typology of Russian language by Gasparov, B. M. (“Structure of Russian language from typological point of view (Intro to sociogrammatics). Article 2. Morphology of the ...
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3answers
414 views

Do any languages have verbal inflection with a plural object?

The verb in a language like English can inflect for person, for example: I see the cat > he sees the cat and the verb can inflect for tense: I see the cat > I saw the cat But do any languages ...
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1answer
222 views

“Enumerators” and Approximate Inversion

There's a term that, as far as I know, goes back to traditional Celtic grammar called "enumerators". These are essentially words that inflect for number in weird ways when preceded by a numeral, that ...
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3answers
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Is there a difference between plurality in semantics and in morphology?

With regard to morphology a common example of a lexeme is [dog, dogs] where dogs is the plural inflexion of the lemma dog modified by the -s suffix, marking plurality. Although I can accept that dog ...
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1answer
398 views

Are there languages in which plural classifiers co-occur with numerals?

I'm aware that a number of classifer languages have what might be called "plural classifiers" which -- unlike "normal" classifier -- force a plural, count interpretation, instead of being ambiguous ...
7
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2answers
310 views

How do clusive forms arise?

Most non-European languages exhibit a clusivity (exclusive/inclusive) distinction. What are the common ways of developing new clusive forms and which clusivity is tied more tightly to the first person ...
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4answers
1k views

Are there any languages that mark nouns as mass?

Nouns like water, mud, furniture in English are odd with plural morphology (adding -s, as in furnitures), with numerals (three furniture(s)), and seem to have their own quantifier (much water but not ...
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7answers
660 views

“Overabundant nouns” in Italian: do they exist in other languages?

Under my answer to that question, I talked about a category of nouns that exist in Italian. The italian name is "Nomi sovrabbondanti" or "sostantivi sovrabbondanti", the meaning is roughly "...
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2answers
226 views

The paucal to denote between three to six individuals

According to the paper cited in this answer, in a "usual case" the paucal denotes between three to six individuals. How common is the limit "three to six"? Is there any reason that those languages ...
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2answers
883 views

Paucal number without singular

I have usually seen the paucal number presented as intermediate between singular and plural in the languages that have it: singular - just one paucal - a few plural - many However, is there any ...