A Grammar of Modern Latvian (Slavistic Printings and by Trevor G. Fenell, Henriki Gelson

By Trevor G. Fenell, Henriki Gelson

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Extra info for A Grammar of Modern Latvian (Slavistic Printings and Reprintings ; No. 304) Vol.2

Example text

Kaytetye Kaytetye is an Arandic language (part of Pama-Nyungan) spoken in Central Australia. Information is from Harold Koch (personal communication; see Koch 1990 for some of the morphology, and for textual examples see Koch and Koch 1993). The pronouns distinguish singular, dual and plural. Nouns need not mark number: marking is most likely for nouns denoting humans and least likely for those denoting inanimates. In addition to having the three-way distinction of the pronouns, nouns split the plural into a normal plural marked with the suffix -amerne, and a greater (global) plural (‘all the X in the universe of discourse’), marked with the suffix -eynenge.

When there is a plural of abundance (only certain of the nouns with collective forms have them) this may affect the meaning of the normal plural (sometimes then called the ‘plural of paucity’ so that the use of the latter implies that the entities referred to are few and are individually discriminated. However, this is not always the case. Thus some Arabic nouns have two plurals; the relations between them vary. The existence of the greater plural may as it were ‘push down’ the ordinary plural into the position of a paucal (for the situation in Classical Arabic see Wright 1967: 234; the analysis is not uncontroversial, for discussion see Ratcliffe 1998: 79–81).

The situation found in the Borana dialect of Oromo (another Cushitic language, previously called Galla) is comparable and equally interesting. When a noun has two forms these are normally singulative and general, or general and plural (singulative and plural is very rare). Andrzejewski (1960: 68) reports that: the vast majority of Nouns occur normally only in their General Forms. The Plural and Singulative Forms are seldom used and in fact it is possible to listen to conversations among the Borana for a whole day or even longer without coming across one Plural or Singulative Form.

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