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Query Details

Query Subject:   Discontinous Numerals
Author:   Thomas Hanke
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Query:   Hello! I'm collecting data for a (small) typology of numerals. One interesting case seems to be quite common in Classical (Biblical) Welsh, still existent in the modern language: there is a flexible constituent ordering inside of cardinals, that is only restricted in a small-to-large sequence. The specialty is the movement of the noun together with the smallest, often concording constituent. So there are (roughly translated): ''twenty and two men'', ''two on twenty men'' and ''two men on twenty''. Germanic languages have had at least similar constructions: ''two men and twenty'' - such a phrase is still understandable in English and German, but surely extremely archaic - even more than ''two and twenty men'' in English. Last Wednesday, I found another example by pure chance in a grammar of Nootka , where an example sentence for word-classes contained the par ''10-animals and-5 '' split, with the ''and-5'' dislocated to the end of the sentence. It looks like the ''10-animals'' is incorporated in the verbal complex - even more fascinating! In Welsh, *''ten animals and five'' isn't possible, as far as I know. The two examples contrast massively in the degree of discontinuity: Welsh just reorders the numeral and always keeps the connection of smallest cardinal and noun. There are typological considerations of the small first vs. large first ordering of numerals, but I haven't been able to find typological work on discontinous numerals, besides the work on Indo-European languages. I would be glad to receive information on these and other languages with discontinous numerals. It would be fine to get details about the types of numerals involved (cardinal, ordinal, ...), the word-class and gender/noun class/classifier concord of the numeral and its parts. An imagined case is a noun class/classifier system, which has numeral concord to the noun and different class concord triggered by large bases - a quite common case in gender systems because of the 'nouniness' of large bases. ''one-F million(F) and one-M soldier(M)'' is normal in Germanic and Romance languages. Any reference will be helpful. A cue to contrastive work done would be perfect! Of course, I will submit a summary of the gained data to LinguistList. Thank you for your interest, Thomas Hanke
LL Issue: 15.46
Date posted: 13-Jan-2004


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