LINGUIST List 11.610

Sat Mar 18 2000

Sum: Typology of Noun Classifiers

Editor for this issue: Lydia Grebenyova <>


  1. Lisa Johnson, Typology of Noun Classifiers

Message 1: Typology of Noun Classifiers

Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 22:39:17 -0700
From: Lisa Johnson <>
Subject: Typology of Noun Classifiers

For Query: Linguist 11.277

Here is a belated summary of the responses to my question about the
typology of classifiers.

Thank you to the following people for their kind assistance:

	Robin Sackmann
	Earl Herrick
	Ashlee Bailey
	Mike Maxwell
	Claire Bowern
	Mike Beaken
	Alexandra Y. Aikenvald

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald wrote:

	"The use of noun classifiers (sometimes called 'generics'), of
numeral classifiers and classifiers of other types is discussed at great
length in my forthcoming book CLASSIFIERS; A TYPOLOGY OF NOUN
CATGORIZATION DEVICES (to appear in April-May 2000, Oxford: OUP; 540 pp) 
(especially see Chapter 12, on functions of classifiers)."

Several people identified languages and language families that feature
rich classifier systems. These included Bantu languages, Tucanoan
languages, Kilivila, Wao, Auca, and languages of the Bora family.
Specific studies on these languages deal with classifier issues.

Specifically recommended sources:

	Sackmann, Robin. 2000. "Numeratives in Mandarin Chinese". In:
Petra M. Vogel, and Bernard Comrie (eds.). Approaches to the Typology of
Word Classes. Berlin etc.: Mouton de Gruyter. 421-477.

	Becker, A.L. (1975) A linguistic image of nature: Burmese
numeral classifiers Linguistics 165; 109-121

	Corbett G (1991) Gender Cambridge UP

	Creider, C (1975) The Semantic system of noun-classes in
proto-Bantu. Anthropological Linguistics 17; 127-138

	Senft, G (1996) Classificatory Particles in Kilivila. Oxford,

	Lakoff, G (1986) Classifiers as a reflection of mind, in C.
Craig (ed.) Noun Classes & Categorization, Amsterdam; Benjamins 

	Denny, J. P. & C. Creider (1986) The Semantics of Noun classes
in Proto Bantu in C. Craig (ed.) Noun Classes & Categorization,
Amsterdam; Benjamins 217-240

	Craig, C. G. (1986) Jacaltec Noun Classifiers, in C. Craig (ed.)
Noun Classes & Categorization, Amsterdam; Benjamins p 263 - 293

	M. Beaken The Making of Language 1996, Edinburgh, pp. 143-6,
164-5, 170.

Since my request, I have also found another useful article:

	Croft, William. 1994. Semantic universals in classifier systems.
Word, 45, 2, 145-171
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