Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:

$34378

Still Needed:

$40622

Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington


Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

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'm not sure I understand the question either. There are many languages (the ones I know are Bengali, Malay and Chinese) in which plurality is not indicated on nouns as it is in (Standard) English. In these languages there are many words that can be used (when wanted) to indicate plurality.

This also happens in many contact varieties of English. The effect in Chinese and Malay is something like this:

Got book. (here there could be one book or several)

The following would give further information:
Got one book. / Got one piece book.
Got five book. / Got five piece book.
Got many book.

and so on.

In Chinese and Malay a good deal could come between the quantity word and the noun, such as adjectives.

Anthea

Reply From: Anthea Fraser Gupta      click here to access email
 
Date: 08-Aug-2012
 
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Morphemes for plurals    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (06-Aug-2012)
  2. Re: Morphemes for plurals    M J Hardman     (06-Aug-2012)
  3. Re: Morphemes for plurals    Susan Fischer     (06-Aug-2012)
  4. Re: Morphemes for plurals    Herbert Frederic Stahlke     (06-Aug-2012)
  5. Re: Morphemes for plurals    Norvin Richards     (07-Aug-2012)

Back to Most Recent Questions