Number

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Dec 7, 2000 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 358 pages
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Number is the most underestimated of the grammatical categories. It is deceptively simple yet the number system which philosophers, logicians and many linguists take as the norm - namely the distinction between singular and plural (as in cat versus cats) - is only one of a wide range of possibilities to be found in languages around the world. Some languages, for instance, make more distinctions than English, having three, four or even five different values. Adopting a wide-ranging perspective, Greville Corbett draws on examples from many languages to analyse the possible systems of number. He reveals that the means for signalling number are remarkably varied and are put to a surprising range of special additional uses. By surveying some of the riches of the world's linguistic resources this book, first published in 2000, makes a major contribution to the typology of categories and demonstrates that languages are much more varied than is generally recognised.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
12 Comparing like with like
3
13 Structure of the book
6
14 Presentation
7
Meaning distinctions
9
22 Number values
19
23 Number systems the Number Hierarchy and associated problems
38
24 Languages without number
50
The syntax of number
178
62 The Agreement Hierarchy and corporate nouns in English
188
63 Associatives syntactic
191
64 Honorifics in Slavonic
193
65 Conjoined noun phrases
195
66 Arabic agreement with plural noun phrases
207
67 Agreement with quantified expressions mainly in Slavonic
211
68 Constraints on agreement systems
216

25 Approaches in formal semantics
51
26 Conclusion
52
Items involved in the nominal number system
54
31 The Animacy Hierarchy
55
32 The hierarchy positions
56
33 Marking and agreement
66
34 Optionality
70
35 Morphological effects
75
36 Count and mass
78
37 Semantic effects
83
38 Conclusion
87
Integrating number values and the Animacy Hierarchy
89
41 Extending the Animacy Hierarchy to other number values
90
42 Minor numbers
95
43 Associatives15
101
44 Distributives and collectives
111
45 Top and second systems
120
46 Conclusion
132
The expression of number
133
52 Syntax
136
53 Morphology
138
54 Lexical means
155
55 Inverse number and polarity
159
56 Minimalaugmented systems
166
57 Constructed numbers
169
58 Reduced expression of number
171
59 Conclusion
177
69 Conclusion
218
Other uses of number
219
71 Honorifics and related uses
220
72 Unexpected feature values in coordination
228
73 Special uses
234
74 Conclusion
242
Verbal number
243
81 The geographical extent of verbal number
245
83 Locus
251
84 Diagnostics for verbal number
252
85 Items involved in the verbal number system
257
86 Expression of verbal number
258
87 Other uses
260
88 Motivation for the asymmetries
261
89 Conclusion
264
Conclusion and new challenges
265
92 Interactions
271
93 Use of number
280
94 The acquisition of number
294
95 The psycholinguistics of number
295
96 The final note
298
References
299
Author index
343
Language index
351
Subject index
356
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