Insights on the Greenberg-Sanches-Slobin generalization: Quantitative typological data on classifiers and plural markers

Insights on the Greenberg-Sanches-Slobin generalization: Quantitative typological data on... AbstractThis paper offers quantitative typological data to investigate a revised version of the Greenberg-Sanches-Slobin generalization (GSSG), which states that (a) a language is unlikely to have both sortal classifiers and morphosyntactic plural markers, and (b) if a language does have both, then their use is in complementary distribution. Morphosyntactic plurals engage in grammatical agreement outside the noun phrase, while morphosemantic plurals that relate to collective and associative marking do not. A database of 400 phylogenetically and geographically weighted languages was created to test this generalization. The statistical test of conditional inference trees was applied to investigate the effect of areal, phylogenetic, and linguistic factors on the distribution of classifiers and morphosyntactic plural markers. The results show that the presence of classifiers is affected by areal factors as most classifier languages are concentrated in Asia. Yet, the low ratio of languages with both features simultaneously is still statistically significant. Part (a) of the GSSG can thus be seen as a statistical universal. We then look into the few languages that do have both features and tentatively conclude that part (b) also seems to hold but further investigation into some of these languages is needed. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Folia Linguistica de Gruyter

Insights on the Greenberg-Sanches-Slobin generalization: Quantitative typological data on classifiers and plural markers

Folia Linguistica, Volume 53 (2): 35 – Nov 26, 2019

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
ISSN
0165-4004
eISSN
1614-7308
DOI
10.1515/flin-2019-2013
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractThis paper offers quantitative typological data to investigate a revised version of the Greenberg-Sanches-Slobin generalization (GSSG), which states that (a) a language is unlikely to have both sortal classifiers and morphosyntactic plural markers, and (b) if a language does have both, then their use is in complementary distribution. Morphosyntactic plurals engage in grammatical agreement outside the noun phrase, while morphosemantic plurals that relate to collective and associative marking do not. A database of 400 phylogenetically and geographically weighted languages was created to test this generalization. The statistical test of conditional inference trees was applied to investigate the effect of areal, phylogenetic, and linguistic factors on the distribution of classifiers and morphosyntactic plural markers. The results show that the presence of classifiers is affected by areal factors as most classifier languages are concentrated in Asia. Yet, the low ratio of languages with both features simultaneously is still statistically significant. Part (a) of the GSSG can thus be seen as a statistical universal. We then look into the few languages that do have both features and tentatively conclude that part (b) also seems to hold but further investigation into some of these languages is needed.

Journal

Folia Linguisticade Gruyter

Published: Nov 26, 2019

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