The expression of number in Jamaican Creole
In this paper I argue that there is no true number morphology in Jamaican Creole (JC). Instead, I show that dem, traditionally taken to be a plural marker, is more properly analyzed as a marker of inclusiveness, a defining characteristic of definiteness. These are expected outcomes of JC being in the class of languages which are claimed to have set nouns, i.e. nouns which, when combined with a numeral X, refer to an X-numbered set of individuals rather than to X number of individuals (Rijkhoff 2004). Since JC does not mark plurality in the same way as its lexifier English, individuation and number in JC cannot be analysed in the same way as is done for English. The proposal for a syntactic analysis of number in JC, given the above, is that functional structure above the NP provides for optional individuation via Cl(assifier)Phrase, and additionally for optional number specification, via Num(ber)Phrase.
Keywords: inclusiveness, individuation, set nouns, number marking
Published online: 03 August 2011
Cited by 4 other publications
Aboh, Enoch O. & Michel DeGraff
Patrick, Peter L.
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