Originally published in 1975, this was the first detailed linguistic study
of natural language numeral systems. It draws on two quite different
scholarly traditions. The first is carried on by anthropologists and others
compiling and cataloguing data on the different counting-systems of the
world. The second explores generative grammar, which analyses the universal
features and the formal organisation of these numeral systems. Dr Hurford
is able to extend and modify the detailed theory of generative grammar by
testing it against this material and discovering the rules, conventions and
constraints which apply. He includes separate chapters on the numeral
systems of English, French, Mixtec, Hawaiian, Danish, Welsh and Yoruba; the
book is therefore also a contribution to the grammars of these languages.
The book is primarily intended for linguists, but there is an introduction
to the relevant principles of generative grammar in the first chapter, to
help make the work accessible also to anthropologists and mathematicians.