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Word order of numeral classifiers and numeral bases Harmonization by multiplication
Natl Chengchi Univ, Res Ctr Brain Mind & Learning, Grad Inst Linguist, Taipei 11605, Taiwan.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Linguistics and Philology.
Natl Chengchi Univ, Grad Inst Linguist, Taipei 11605, Taiwan.
2019 (English)In: Language Typology and Universals, ISSN 1867-8319, E-ISSN 2196-7148, Vol. 72, no 3, p. 421-452Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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). Num and C/M are adjacent cross-linguistically, 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 x base], e.g., san-bai `three hundred' in Mandarin. However, the base may also precede the multiplier in some languages, thus [base x n]. Interestingly, base and C/M seem to harmonize in word order, i.e., [n x base] numerals appear with a [Num C/M] alignment, and [base x n] numerals, with [C/M Num]. This paper follows up on the explanation of the base-C/M harmonization based on the multiplicative theory of classifiers 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 x n]) and C/M-initial ([C/M Num]) orders exist only in Tibeto-Burman (TB) within our dataset. Moreover, the few scarce violations to the base-C/M harmonization are also all in TB and are mostly languages having maintained their original base-initial numerals but borrowed from their base-final and C/M-final neighbors. We thus offer an explanation based on Proto-TB's base-initial numerals and language contact with neighboring base-final, C/M-final languages.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 72, no 3, p. 421-452
Keywords [en]
classifier, multiplication, numeral base, harmonization
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-396539DOI: 10.1515/stuf-2019-0017ISI: 000489499700006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-396539DiVA, id: diva2:1368585
Available from: 2019-11-07 Created: 2019-11-07 Last updated: 2019-11-07Bibliographically approved

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