8 votes

Why is the word "God" plural in some languages?

Lots of confusion here. Hebrew Elohim is morphologically plural but syntactically singular: it governs a verb in the 3rd person singular. Adonai is likewise syntactically singular. Dios is from ...
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7 votes

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

WALS is a great tool to answer questions like this. With this combined view of three features I find Zapotec and Sre as languages with the following features: Plural prefix / Noun-Adjective / ...
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7 votes
Accepted

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

Indeed! The most common form of this involves having a dual number, used for exactly two things, and a plural number, used for any more than that. You'll find this in older Indo-European languages ...
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  • 51k
6 votes

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

The question addresses an aspect of English syntax that is still somewhat in flux. The mechanism known as copular inversion should be part of the answer. The direct answer to the question(s) is that ...
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  • 5,280
6 votes
Accepted

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

Since there are more languages with dedicated plural forms than there are with dedicated dual forms, this phenomenon is probably more common with plurals. I'm more familiar with constructions like ...
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  • 16.5k
5 votes
Accepted

Is there such thing as a 'half-plural'?

I believe you may be looking for the paucal number. Paucal, from Latin paucus, "a few", means: pertaining to a language form referring to a few of something (three to around ten), as a small group ...
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  • 6,754
5 votes
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Are there any languages that mark nouns as mass?

English has the suffix -age as one way of indicating that a noun is mass. Wiktionary defines it as "Forming nouns with the sense of collection or appurtenance." It's not a regular marker of mass, but ...
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4 votes

What happens when a bilingual uses a grammatical subject with a different number system than the verb?

If a bilingual English and Arabic speaker would have to use an English subject with an Arabic verb, it is fully up to the speaker, no matter which language the context is in, to choose which form ...
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4 votes

Order of spoken numbers with respect to powers of the base of the numerical system

An example of how the spoken numerals influenced the way they were written numerically is the Slavic languages and their Cyrillic alphabet. Since Cyrillic is derived from the Greek alphabet, it also ...
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4 votes
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Inclusive pronouns—can there be more than one?

There are languages that have a dual/plural number distinction as well as an inclusive/exclusive distinction in the first person, so there definitely could be separate inclusive first-person pronouns ...
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  • 16.5k
3 votes
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Is there a language with dual indefinite articles?

Ancient Greek arguably has a dual indefinite article tiné. Literally it means "some [two things]", and is unrelated to the numeral "two". To elaborate a bit more: Ancient Greek didn't have mandatory ...
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  • 51k
3 votes

Languages without plural markings

Japanese also lacks plural marking for most nouns - for example: 猫 (neko) - Cat, 猫 (neko) - Cats However, in order to show plurality it has many many many counters, for instance 名 (mei) which is a ...
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  • 131
3 votes

Languages without plural markings

Malay and Indonesian, like many Austronesian languages, use reduplication to mark plurality. Kucing - cat Kucing-kucing - cats It is, however, possible to denote plurality without changing ...
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  • 1,522
3 votes
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Which modern languages have more than two grammatical categories for numbers?

There are also languages that have more than singular, dual, plural. A good overview is provided by Corbett 2000, which is an really good overview over the category of Number in general. Here are some ...
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  • 326
3 votes

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

Russian has, probably, the most interesting schema: 0 - Plural 1 - Singular 2,3,4 - Dual 5-20 - Plural 21 - Singular 22-24 - Dual 25-30 - Plural ... The genral rule is to check on ...
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3 votes

Are there any languages that mark nouns as mass?

In Asturian, they are marked by gender. Uncountables (or mass nouns) are neuter. Words that be both countable and not will change gender with the countable form being masculine or feminine. L'arena ...
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2 votes

Proper terminology for the types of dual

I think I can help you. Parallels exists in modern Slovenian and Croatian. In Slovenian, you would use dual with any two objects: Matjaž in Janez sta bila... (dual of verb) "Matjaž and Janez ...
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  • 151
2 votes

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

From wikipedia, (emphasis added): Treatments differ in expressions of zero quantity: English often uses the plural in such expressions as no injuries and zero points, although no (and zero in some ...
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  • 592
2 votes

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

According to the "Grammatical number" Wikipedia article, there are languages with dual and trial numbers, as well as forms that contrast small numbers with big numbers. The article contains a... ...
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  • 1,726
2 votes

Languages without plural markings

For Vietnamese, we don't change a noun's form when talking about plurality. We just add the number before the noun. For example, EN: a cat --- VN: mèo EN: 5 cats --- VN: 5 (con) mèo (...
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2 votes

Languages without plural markings

Māori is, with the exception of 8 words, a language like this. Nouns have the same form in singular and plural and are distinguished by the article used: te for singular and ngā for plural. So: te ...
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2 votes
Accepted

What languages have more than two numbers regarding things and persons?

Proto-Indo-European seems to have had a dual number (for two things), so many Indo-European languages show remnants of it: it's attested in Ancient Greek, though not quite as abundantly as in Sanskrit,...
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  • 51k
2 votes
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Is there a language where in declension number is affixed peripherally to case?

That's Greenberg's Universal #39: Where morphemes of both number and case are present and both follow or both precede the noun base, the expression of number almost always comes between the noun ...
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1 vote

What languages have more than two numbers regarding things and persons?

Old Church Slavonic has dual - not just remnants of, but the real thing. That language is a "snapshot" of a mixture of 9th century south Slavic dialects and is still in use, unchanged, as a liturgical ...
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  • 500
1 vote

"Who lives there" vs "Who live there?"

(Note: the relative "who" and the interrogative "who" have rather different grammatical properties. When I talk about the word "who" in this answer, I'm specifically talking about the interrogative.) ...
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  • 51k
1 vote

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

This may be a partial answer because I don't remember details, sorry for that. A Russian noun can have up to 4 numeral endings (including the singular forms). The first is its "original form" and is ...
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  • 397
1 vote

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

What you say about Arabic is a bit confused. ghurfa / ghuraf is a simple singular / plural situation, the plural being formed by restructuring the consonants of the singular (which is not at all "...
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  • 22.6k
1 vote
Accepted

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

Yes. Here's my answer to a similar question (What kind of pluralisation system does Welsh use?): Some words in Welsh use a singulative/collective distinction instead of the singular/plural ...
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1 vote

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

The form of a noun used with a numeral can vary a lot depending on the language, and it's not always restricted to two options. Some languages, such as Hungarian, use only the singular with all ...
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