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Are Some Languages Better than Others?$
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R. M. W. Dixon

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198766810

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198766810.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 October 2021

What is desirable

What is desirable

(p.75) Chapter 4 What is desirable
Are Some Languages Better than Others?

R. M. W. Dixon

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines grammatical categories which are found in many—but not all—languages. They fulfil a useful function for languages in which they occur, and presumably could do so in every language. There is discussion of gender and classifiers, and of articles which mark definiteness. Then tense systems, modalities, and types of aspect. An evidentiality system provides obligatory statement of how something is known—seen, heard, inferred, reported, etc. We look at types of comparative, passive, reflexive and reciprocal constructions. And finally at how a language may have several causatives, with contrasting meanings, and also several applicatives.

Keywords:   gender, classifiers, articles, tense, modality, aspect, evidentials, comparatives, passives, causatives

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