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Book Information

   

Title: Numeral Classifier Systems. The Case of Japanese
Written By: Pamela Downing
Series Title: Studies in Discourse and Grammar
Description:

Numeral Classifier Systems considers the functional significance of the Japanese numeral system, with conclusions based on a corpus of 500 uses of classifier constructions drawn from oral and written Japanese texts. Interestingly, although the Japanese system appears to conform at least superficially to universalistic predictions about its semantic structure, this study reports that in actual usage, the semantic role of classifiers is slight -- only very rarely do they carry any lexical information unavailable from the context or the noun with which the classifier occurs. It does appear, however, that the system has an important role to play in providing pronoun-like anaphoric elements and in marking pragmatic distinctions such as the individuatedness of referents and the newness of numerical information. For these reasons, the classifier system is deeply involved in a number of subsystems of Japanese grammar, and the demise of the system (sometimes rumored to be impending) would have substantial implications for the structure of the language as a whole.

Publication Year: 1996
Publisher: John Benjamins
Review: Not available for review. If you would like to review a book on The LINGUIST List, please login to view the AFR list.
BibTex: View BibTex record
Linguistic Field(s): Syntax
Subject Language(s): Japanese
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Versions:
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 155619370X
ISBN-13: 9781556193705
Pages: 336
Prices: U.S. $ 162