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Academic Paper

Title: Bangla Numerals and Problems of Computability
Author: Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Indian Statistical Institute
Linguistic Field: Semantics
Subject Language: Bengali
Abstract: In this paper, the author tried to depict some non-deterministic and uncertain phenomena revealed in expression of Bangla numerals. The points of arguments are as follows: 1. Human quantification is partly or fully different from analyst’s rigorous quantification. 2. The following corpus from Bangla has a peculiar nature of non-componentiality or they are rather prototypical. This prototypical nature of fuzzy numerals cannot be handled in computational framework or even in the LF. /L/The first set of data deals with idiomatic expressions like: 1. Sat-paMc Seven-five “pros and cons”; 2. nOy-chOy nine-six “topsy-turvy”; 3. unis-biS, nineteen-twenty “trifle difference” jaHa bahanno taHay tippanno. 5. Whatever is fifty-two, that is fifty-three (i.e. 52=53) "A trifle difference does not count." /L/The second problem may be termed as “one is not equal to one” problem. A rule of “one deletion” was proposed by Dasgupta (1987).5 dokanduTo shop-two-classifier. 6. dokanTa shop-singular-classifier. Obviously, "one” is deleted in 6. However, Dasgupta mentioned that ‘one deletion’ is not true in the cases like 7. jOlTa, Water-classifier or 8. telTa oil-classifier. In Bangla, one cannot say 9. *EkTa jOl ‘One-classifier Oil” However, there are some pragmatic cases where such expressions like 9 is possible. The Speaking subject’s perception may still be “one" in those cases-- it is ‘one’ as a unit--this is not a deterministic physical ‘one’, but one as a whole. When any Bangla speaker says, 10. phrij theke jOlTa ano. fridge from water-classifier bring "Bring water from the fridge.”, his/her intention is to refer “one bottle of water”. Therefore, ‘one” is there in the D-structure, but it is a fuzzy one. The concept of this fuzzy "one" can be further illustrated in the following movement-transformations, where deterministic numeral expressions are changed to non-deterministic Determiner Phrases:/L/11.a) paMcTa five-classifier (definite)/L/11.b) goTa paMcek classifier( indef. ) five-one "more or less five "/L/12.a) paMcjon five-classifier (definite)/L/12.b) jona paMcek classifier( indef. ) five-one "more or less five "/L/13.a) paMckhana five-classifier /L/13.b) khan paMcek ,classifier( indef. ) five-one "more or less five "/L/14.a) paMc Hajar "five thousand"/L/ 14. b) Hajar paMcek thousand five-one. "more or less five thousand"/L/15.a) paMc lakh, five lacs/L/15.b) lakh paMcek lacs five-one "more or less five lacs"/L/Examples like 11-15 show those deterministic expressions in (a) and non-deterministic expressions in (b). Compared to (a), examples in (b) show the fronting of classifiers with subsequent morphophonemic change and an addition of /ek/ “one” to the specific numeral x. This one is not deterministic +-1, but this “one” has a range more or less than +- 1./L/These Bangla numeral expressions show the world-views of the community concerned with a special reference to their psychophysical way of looking at things (perception) and ways of making order of things (understanding). Therefore, it is a hermeneutic problem that involves the relative gap between human perception and understanding in relation to habitat. The range of +-1 is different in different persons belonging to different socio-economic classes or even it may be different in a single person in different psychosocial context.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Venue: Patiala. 8-10 January, 1999
Publication Info: 2nd. International Conference on South Asian Languages,

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