This volume addresses the fundamental linguistic question of how the perceived world is expressed through systems of nominal classification. Leading scholars review the whole spectrum of nominal classification, from gender systems through to numeral classifiers, providing cutting-edge theoretical interpretations and empirical case studies across a variety of languages. The volume presents new ideas about the problems of classification and clarifies the interface between anthropological and grammatical work. It will appeal to linguists, anthropologists and psychologists alike as well as specialists in languages as diverse as Australian, Amazonian, and Mayan.
Preface, Gunter Senft; 1. What do we really know about nominal classification systems? Gunter Senft; 2. A morphosyntactic typology of classifiers, Colette Grinevald; 3. Unusual classifiers in Tariana, Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald; 4. Multiple classifier systems in Akatek (Mayan), Roberto Zavala Maldonado; 5. Ant, ancestors and medicine: a semantic and pragmatic account of classifier constructions in Arrernte (Central Australia), David P. Wilkins; 6. Visualizing ability and nominal classifications: an evidence of cultural operation in the agreement rules of Japanese numeral classifiers, Kyoko Inoue; 7. Isolation of units and unification of isolates: the gestalt-functions of classifiers, Jürgen Broschart; 8. Bantu noun class system. Loanword and acquisition evidence of semantic productivity, Katherine Demuth; 9. Gender assignment: a typology and a model, Greville G. Corbett and Norman M. Fraser; 10. Systems of nominal classification - a concluding discussion, John Lucy.