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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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Numeral classifiers in Japanese

Numeral classifiers in Japanese

(p.249) 9 Numeral classifiers in Japanese
Genders and Classifiers

Nerida Jarkey

Hiroko Komatsu

Oxford University Press

This examination of numeral classifiers in standard Japanese (hyoojungo) focuses on their interaction with nouns and their referents in terms of both meaning and function. By unitizing their referents, Japanese numeral classifiers not only facilitate enumeration but also play an important discourse pragmatic role in the understanding of referentiality. While Japanese numeral classifiers have been discussed in much previous research, this chapter offers further insights into a range of issues that are of typological interest in relation to noun categorization systems. These issues include the extent to which a distinction can be made between classifiers and quantifiers in this language, as well as between classifiers whose referents are represented by nouns or verbs. The chapter also extends the understanding of the discourse pragmatic functions of Japanese numeral classifiers and opens a new area of investigation into their idiosyncratic, metaphorical uses by speakers to express their subjective attitude towards a referent.

Keywords:   Japanese, numeral classifier, event classifier, unitization, referentiality, metaphor, subjective attitude

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