Linguistics and English Language

Linguistic Circle

Speaker: Matthew Baerman (University of Surrey)

Title: Less is more in ǂHoan possessed nouns

Abstract: Most plural nouns in ǂHoan (Kxa, Botswana; Collins 2001) take the plural suffix -qà.

ǃkôa ‘house’

ǃkôa-qà ‘houses’

A subset of these, when possessed, additionally take a prefix kı́-.

ǂ’àmkȍe kı́-ǃkôa-qà ‘the person’s houses’

But when the possessor is also plural, the plural suffix is usually deleted:

c̆òõ-!ka’e kı́-ǃkôa ‘the people’s houses’

Why should the addition of semantic plurality lead to the deletion of morphological plurality? I argue against Collins’ (2001) analysis, and suggest it results from a pragmatic implicature stemming from the function of pluractionality in noun inflection. Seri (isolate, Mexico) and Nisgha (Tsimshian, Canada) examples flesh out the picture.

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Linguistic Circle committee

Nov 25 2021 -

Linguistic Circle

2021-11-25: Less is more in ǂHoan possessed nouns

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