LINGUIST List 4.323

Wed 28 Apr 1993

Disc: Markedness

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. John E. Koontz, Re: 4.295 Marking

Message 1: Re: 4.295 Marking

Date: Mon, 26 Apr 1993 10:29:30 Re: 4.295 Marking
From: John E. Koontz <>
Subject: Re: 4.295 Marking

Per Alexis Manaster-Ramer:
> I do not see why these facts have nothing to do with number.
> If we found a language in which a special form was used only
> with the numeral for '2', would that mean that this language
> has no dual?

> Also, the facts are more complicated. First, a few nouns
> have a different form when used with numerals ending
>in 2-4 than they do in genitive singular, notably, chas 'hour'.

For what it is worth, it is my understanding that the dual or paucal form of
the Slavic languages is historically, in fact, the Proto-Slavic dual.
Classifying it as a genitive singular is an artifice of certain descriptive
traditions, based on the formal coincidence with the genitive singular that
occurs in certain paradigms, and on contemporary anomalies in syntactic
distribution (e.g., with numerals only, and with numbers above two) that
make it seem odd to refer to it as a dual per se.

John Koontz
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue