Questions tagged [plurality]

A number category expressing a higher number than other categories existing in that language (such as singular, dual, paucal).

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In an agentivity hierarchy, where do plurals fit in?

In a language with such a system, nouns and pronouns are ranked based on how likely they are to be agents. I've seen it said in multiple places that typically first and second person appear on top (...
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Does Northern Kurdish actually have a paucal number?

For the past 10+ years, the Wikipedia article "Grammatical number" has stated: Of the Indo-European languages, Kurmanji (also known as Northern Kurdish) is one of the few known languages ...
John Fortnight's user avatar
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Multiple plurals per inflectional paradigm slot (Arabic)

Lexemes are generally associated with inflectional paradigms; let us take a nominal for the purpose of this discussion, and more specifically an Arabic nominal. Let's say that we are dealing with a ...
chriscay's user avatar
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What is the evidence that pre-Islamic Arabic had a plural of majesty?

I'm starting to read the Quran and I've found many theologians argue about God referring to himself in the plural, mainly claiming it is a plural of majesty (example: M. A. S. Abdel Haleem's ...
K Pomykala's user avatar
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What is the difference between plurality and gender?

I have just started creating my own conlang, and I was wondering if anybody could help me. I can't find anything that'll help me differentiate plurality and gender.
McKay Clemens's user avatar
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Why is the proto-italic reconstruction of "corpora" "*korpezā"?

I was studying rhotacism and I came across the word corpora (plural of corpus). I would reconstruct the proto-italic form as *korpoza, but I saw the entry on Wiktionary and it says that the actual ...
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Origin of Italian plurals

Some sources say that italian plurals come from the nominative case, so "italiano" has the plural "italiani", and "italiana" has the plural "italiane". However ...
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Does Biblical Hebrew have a plural of majesty?

Does Biblical Hebrew have a plural of majesty? I'm aware there's the word Elohim which can mean God or gods. But I don't think that's good evidence of plural of majesty because for example, you have a ...
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Why do most languages have a different form for singular vs plural nouns?

I've been wondering about this for a while. It makes sense intuitively, but I feel this is probably partly due to having been conditioned to think about it this way throughout all our lives, because ...
Samuele B.'s user avatar
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Is there empirical support for this implicational universal: "if a language has no plural morphology, it has no tense marking"?

The WALS map that crossclassifies number and past tense morphology shows that they tend to covary. I want to know if people with a deeper knowledge of linguistic typology can vouch for this ...
Deep_Television's user avatar
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Languages with a common, productive construction for marking heterogeneous groups

Are there any languages with a construction similar in meaning to an associative plural or elliptical construction that's used frequently within the language? I'm particularly interested in a ...
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Is English unusual in having no second person plural form?

In Spanish, there are the "vosotros" (only used in Spain) and "ustedes" (formal in Spain) forms for use when talking to a group of people. These also use specific conjugations different different from ...
Stormblessed's user avatar
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Plural form as respect form - based on what?

Many languages use the plural as respected mood for a singular (even English use "you" which is basically a plural form of thu). Now my question is: based on what those who started to speak in ...
Ubiquitous Student's user avatar
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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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Why isn't a countable noun required to have a determiner when used in the plural?

When used in the singular, a countable noun is required to have a determiner. *I bought car. But the same countable noun is not required to have any determiner when used in the plural. I bought ...
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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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English "fruit" vs Italian "frutta" plural number

So I was listening to: "Story of Human Language - John McWhorter" and I stumbled upon an example of errors foreigners could do while speaking English (at least the American variant), mainly: This ...
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Numeral-noun number agreement - how popular it is

I am interested in the feature of number agreement for simple cases of "several nouns" in various languages. Some languages featuring this agreement are e.g. English or Slavic languages (I don't know ...
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When do English speakers add /əs/ in the end of a word ending in /əs/? [closed]

What is the most general and accurate linguistic observation on when native English speakers add /əs/ in the end when uttering a word already ending in /əs/? Googling has not helped me one bit. ...
user376034's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
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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....
Tom's user avatar
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Why does inflection in any language sound so natural? [closed]

I saw this video and realised that all mentioned Old English plurals sound pretty natural for me, even though I'm native Czech speaker. Also in German I think inflection seems to follow some universal ...
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Can determinatives be semantically plural?

Number is typically something that applies to nouns. In English, determinatives enter into scalar relationship and select singular or plural heads, but does it makes sense from a semantic point of ...
Brett Reynolds's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
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Does an -es suffix for plurality have Proto-Indo-European roots?

I'm researching proto-Indo-European, and have seen a few remarks which imply that an -es suffix for plural was a likely component of the language (including here on L.SE; Wiktionary). Is this a ...
Jon of All Trades's user avatar
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Plural formation in Bulgarian

How could you analyze the formation of the plural below? Singular - Plural teatər - teatri - theater bobər - bobri - beaver pesen - pesni - song psalom - psalmi - psalm bancik - bancigi - ...
Kelly's user avatar
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Why are there inflections?

I'm from a Chinese background. I wonder why there are inflections in many languages, as compared with no inflections in Chinese. I personally suppose that a language should originate simple and easy ...
David's user avatar
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Which plural form to use when unknown quantity

I'm not super into linguistics so sorry I won't be using the correct terms here. I also only speak English (though I know tiny bits of a few languages). Also sorry if this is a duplicate, I found it ...
alexrussell's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
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Root reduplication to mean singular

In different languages reduplication of the root serves as a means to express plurality (Malay 'orang' - 'a person', 'orang-orang' - 'people') or a greater degree (Russian 'много' - 'many, much', '...
Yellow Sky's user avatar
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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" ...
kodkod's user avatar
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Determining plural forms of fictional words

How does one determine the correct plurals of "made up" words that have no given plural form given by its original canon source or creator? Is it possible to determine what the "most similar" ...
Southpaw Hare's user avatar
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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' ...
Danger Fourpence's user avatar
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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 ...
neydroydrec's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
567 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 ...
dustinalfonso's user avatar