Chapter published in:The Diachrony of Classification Systems
Edited by William B. McGregor and Søren Wichmann
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 342] 2018
► pp. 135–164
Numeral classifier systems in the Araxes-Iran linguistic area
This corpus-based study discusses numeral classifiers (NCs) in neighboring languages of disparate origins: Azerbaijani (Turkic) and within Indo-European both colloquial Armenian and Vafsi (NW Iranian). Colloquial Tehran Persian and some other smaller Iranian languages, an additional Armenian dialect, a peripheral dialect of Azerbaijani, two Neo-Aramaic dialects (Semitic), and colloquial Georgian (Kartvelian) are also marginally included. This study shows that languages of very different origins have developed typologically similar classifier systems with very parallel behaviors. Although NCs in these languages are robust in usage, they represent simple systems, generally consisting of only two members: (1) a universal NC meaning ‘seed, grain’ used for all noun types (including human), and (2) an NC meaning ‘person’ optionally used for humans. The statistics of frequency of each classifier in these languages are tabulated. The diachrony of NCs in the area, their relationship to Greenbergian typology, their areality, and their fade-out phenomena are also discussed.
Published online: 14 May 2018
Borjian, Habib & Maryam Borjian
eanc = Eastern Armenian National Corpus. Ongoing. http://www.eanc.net/ . (Accessed: 25 April 2017.)
Harrell, S. J., Mala Koupounla, Mala Tsitsishvili & Ketevan Gabounla
Mahmoudweysi, Parwin, Denise Bailey, Ludwig Paul & Geoffrey Haig
Mkrtch’yan, M. et al.
In preparation. Atlas of the Araxes-Iran Linguistic Area.
Cited by other publications
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