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Classifiers: A Typology of Noun Categorization Devices [Hardcover]

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

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Book Description

March 15 2000 019823886X 978-0198238867
Almost all languages have some grammatical means for the linguistic categorization of nouns. Well-known systems such as the lexical numeral classifiers of South-East Asia, on the one hand, and the highly grammaticalized gender agreement classes of Indo-European languages, on the other, are the extremes of a contiuum. They can have a similar semantic basis, and one can develop from the other. Classifiers come in different morphological forms; they can be free nouns, clitics, or affixes. Some languages combine several varieties of classifiers. Different types of classifiers show varying correlations with other grammatical categories. In addition, they differ in their semantics, in the way they develop, and in the way they become obsolescent and disappear. These parameters are the basis for the typology of classifiers presented here. This book is almost certainly the most substantial cross-linguistic account of classifiers ever published. Its range of exemplification includes major and minor languages from every continent (several from the author's own fieldwork). The work combines original research with innovative analysis and will interest typologists, those working in the field of morphosyntactic variation and lexical semantics, and exponents of formal theories who wish to explain the range of linguistic diversity found in natural language.

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a real treasure...highly stimulating. Thomas Stolz, Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung Aikhenvald's book is the most comprehensive and dependable guide available - it is unique Terry Malone, SIL International Book Reviews The most thorough attempt to date on noun categorization devices. It surveys about 500 languages which the author claims is one-tenth of all languages. Language This study is extremely authoritative and up-to-date ... This book has much to offer linguists motivated by any one of several primary interests, particularly universals and the connection between language and cognition. Journal of Linguistics Aikhenvald displays the rare gift of being able to inspire interest in new research through the success of her own results, without stifling those future possibilities through undue certitude in having discovered all of the answers already. The best thing about this very excellent book is precisely the author's keen awareness that it is not the last word on the subject. Journal of Linguistics Data presented in a clear, straightforward manner ... also cutting edge research presented in the spirit of a work in progress. Journal of Linguistics

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Almost all languages have some grammatical means for the linguistic categorization of nouns and nominals. Read the first page
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