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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||Morphemes for plurals|
|Question:||Are there any languages whose standard method of showing plurality separates the morpheme or phrase that indicates it from the root word it refers to?|
|Reply:||I know of one language where something like this happens. Yoruba, a Niger-Congo language spoken by about 20 million people in SW Nigeria, does not mark number morphologically. Number will normally be inferred from context. So "ile" could be "house" or "houses." However, with nouns referring to humans, the independent third person plural pronoun form "awon" is placed before the noun. (The IPA popup window is not working for me, so I can't make that transcription fully accurate.) So, "omo" is "child" and "awon omo" is "children." Since noun modifiers follow the noun in Yoruba, Prof. Fischer's test would be moot for Yoruba. Herb|
|Reply From:||Herbert Frederic Stahlke click here to access email|