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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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Classifiers in Hmong

Classifiers in Hmong

(p.222) 8 Classifiers in Hmong
Genders and Classifiers

Nathan M. White

Oxford University Press

Building on research done by Riddle (1989) and Bisang (1993), inter alia, this chapter seeks to provide a more thorough account of the classifier system of the two varieties of Laotian Hmong (Hmong-Mien, Laos and diaspora), White Hmong and Green Mong. In Hmong, classifiers are an open class, belonging to one of six semantic varieties, including locational. While most classifiers function as multiple classifiers, covering the roles of noun classifier, numeral classifier, possessed classifier, and deictic classifier, some individual classifiers may permit only a subset of these. Classifiers not only serve multiple functions related to syntax and discourse, including to indicate emphasis, selection of a subgroup, and apportioning of objects, but also participate in four-syllable elaborate expressions subject to specific rules, as well as display distinct behaviour in certain narrative contexts that represent special exceptions to Bisang’s (1993) hierarchy of definiteness for Hmong.

Keywords:   White Hmong, Green Mong, Hmong-Mien, numeral classifier, noun classifier, possessed classifier

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