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Insights on the Greenberg-Sanches-Slobin generalization: Quantitative typological data on classifiers and plural markers
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Linguistics and Philology.
Natl Chengchi Univ, Grad Inst Linguist, 64,Sec 2,Zhinan Rd, Taipei 11605, Taiwan;Natl Chengchi Univ, Res Ctr Mind Brain & Learning, 64,Sec 2,Zhinan Rd, Taipei 11605, Taiwan.
2019 (English)In: Folia linguistica, ISSN 0165-4004, E-ISSN 1614-7308, Vol. 53, no 2, p. 297-331Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper offers quantitative typological data to investigate a revised version of the Greenberg-Sanches-Slobin generalization (GSSG), which states that (a) a language is unlikely to have both sortal classifiers and morphosyntactic plural markers, and (b) if a language does have both, then their use is in complementary distribution. Morphosyntactic plurals engage in grammatical agreement outside the noun phrase, while morphosemantic plurals that relate to collective and associative marking do not. A database of 400 phylogenetically and geographically weighted languages was created to test this generalization. The statistical test of conditional inference trees was applied to investigate the effect of areal, phylogenetic, and linguistic factors on the distribution of classifiers and morphosyntactic plural markers. The results show that the presence of classifiers is affected by areal factors as most classifier languages are concentrated in Asia. Yet, the low ratio of languages with both features simultaneously is still statistically significant. Part (a) of the GSSG can thus be seen as a statistical universal. We then look into the few languages that do have both features and tentatively conclude that part (b) also seems to hold but further investigation into some of these languages is needed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 53, no 2, p. 297-331
Keywords [en]
sortal classifier, morphosyntactic plural, conditional inference tree
National Category
Language Technology (Computational Linguistics) General Language Studies and Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-397683DOI: 10.1515/flin-2019-2013ISI: 000494653400001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-397683DiVA, id: diva2:1373869
Available from: 2019-11-28 Created: 2019-11-28 Last updated: 2019-11-28Bibliographically approved

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Tang, Marc

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