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Title: Word order of numeral classifiers and numeral bases: Harmonization by multiplication
Authors: 何萬順
Her, One-Soon
Tang*, Macr
Li, Bing-Tsiong
Contributors: 語言所
Keywords: classifier;multiplication;numeral base;harmonization
Date: 2018-12
Issue Date: 2020-06-20 14:07:59 (UTC+8)
Abstract: In a numeral classifier language, a sortal classifier (C) or a mensural classifier (M) is needed when a noun is quantified by a numeral (Num). Greenberg (1990b, p. 185) first observes that cross-linguistically Num and C/M are adjacent, either in a [Num C/M] order or [C/M Num]. Likewise, in a complex numeral with a multiplicative composition, the base may follow the multiplier as in [n × base], e.g., san-bai ‘three hundred’ in Standard Mandarin. However, the base may precede the multiplier, thus [base × n], which is also attested. Greenberg (1990a, p. 293) further observes that [n × base] numerals appear with a [Num C/M] alignment and [base × n] numerals with [C/M Num]; base and C/M thus seem to harmonize in word order. This paper first motivates the base-C/M harmonization via the multiplicative theory of classifiers (Her, 2012a, 2017a), and verifies it empirically within six language groups in the world’s foremost hotbed of classifier languages: Sinitic, Miao-Yao, Austro-Asiatic, Tai-Kadai, Tibeto-Burman, and Indo-Aryan. Our survey further reveals two interesting facts: base-initial ([base × n]) and C/M-initial ([C/M Num]) orders exist only in Tibeto-Burman (TB) within our dataset and so are the few scarce violations to the base-C/M harmonization. We offer an explanation based on Proto-TB’s base-initial numerals and language contact with neighboring base-final, C/M-final languages.
Relation: STUF-Language Typology and Universals, 72:3
Data Type: article
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