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By Greville G. Corbett

Quantity is the main underestimated of the grammatical different types. it really is deceptively easy but differences in quantity (as in cat as opposed to cats ) range significantly from language to language. a few languages, for example, make extra differences than English, having 3, 4 or perhaps 5 assorted values. This booklet attracts on examples from many languages to investigate the chances and divulges that the world's linguistic assets are richer than even many linguists observe. it truly is meant for linguistic scholars and lecturers and is a perfect access to linguistic typology.

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For instance, Smirnova (1981) shows that general/singular versus plural is a widespread system in Iranian languages, but not for nouns denoting humans; the latter have singular versus plural. And in Vai, a Northern Mande language (Welmers 1976: 45–6), there is a similar system. 9 Languages which have general/singular, for varying types of nominal, can be found widely distributed in the world. They include various West African languages in addition to Vai just mentioned (Manessy 1968), then also Sango (Samarin 1967: 134–7), Amharic (David Appleyard, personal communication) and Mangap-Mbula (Mangaaba-Mbula, Bugenhagen 1994).

7. Ngoahi, and koawoa are emphatic forms. 2). The possessive suffixes, which attach to nouns, also have remote plural forms (for remote plural possessors). Determiners do not have distinct remote plural forms (they have only a singular–plural opposition); and nouns mark number only through demonstrative suffixes. 7 Mokilese personal pronouns (Harrison 1976: 88) 1st person exclusive 1st person inclusive 2nd person 3rd person singular dual plural greater plural (remote plural) ngoah, ngoahi — koah, koawoa ih kama kisa kamwa ara, ira kamai kisai kamwai arai, irai kimi kihs kimwi ihr The column headed ‘plural’ gives the normal plural forms.

17 Meaning distinctions There are also some instances in which the singulative contrasts with the plural: singulative plural heero-nté ‘a flood’ farr-it ‘a finger/toe’ heeró-n ‘floods’ farr-ó ‘fingers/toes’ Thus nouns regularly have two number forms only. For most nouns, one of these forms can be used with general meaning; but this general meaning form may be paired with a singulative or with a plural. Other nouns have singulative versus plural. The situation found in the Borana dialect of Oromo (another Cushitic language, previously called Galla) is comparable and equally interesting.

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