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Genders and ClassifiersA Cross-Linguistic Typology$
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Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and Elena I. Mihas

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198842019

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198842019.001.0001

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Noun categorization devices

Noun categorization devices

A cross-linguistic perspective

(p.1) 1 Noun categorization devices
Genders and Classifiers

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

Oxford University Press

A noun may refer to a man, a woman, an animal, or an inanimate object of varied shape, size, and function, or have abstract reference. Noun categorization devices vary in their expression, and the contexts in which they occur. Large sets of numeral classifiers in South-East Asian languages occur with number words and quantifying expressions. Small highly grammaticalized noun classes and gender systems in Indo-European and African languages, and the languages of the Americas are expressed with agreement markers on adjectives, demonstratives, and also on the noun itself. Further means include noun classifiers, classifiers in possessive constructions, verbal classifiers, and two lesser-known types: locative and deictic classifiers. This introductory chapter offers a general typological background, focusing on issues in noun categorization devices particularly relevant for this volume.

Keywords:   gender, classifier, typological background, noun classifier, verbal classifier, possessive construction, locative classifier, deictic classifier

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