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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10
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3answers
4k views

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 ...
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2answers
217 views

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 ...
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0answers
59 views

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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3answers
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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 ...
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3answers
406 views

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 ...
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1answer
165 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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4answers
152 views

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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3answers
680 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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2answers
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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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3answers
274 views

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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1answer
168 views

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. ...
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1answer
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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....
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3answers
238 views

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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1answer
121 views

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 ...
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2answers
423 views

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 ...
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2answers
546 views

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 - ...
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9answers
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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 ...
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0answers
225 views

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 ...
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1answer
280 views

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', '...
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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" ...
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2answers
563 views

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" ...
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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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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
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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 ...