Article published in:A typology of the mass/count distinction in Brazil and its relevance for mass/count theories
Edited by Suzi Lima and Susan Rothstein
[Linguistic Variation 20:2] 2020
► pp. 255–270
Count, mass, number and numerals in Kuikuro (Upper Xingu Carib)
This article deals with the multiple reflexes of the mass versus count distinction in Kuikuro, a dialect of a southern-branch language of the Carib family, spoken by 600 people at the edge of Brazilian Southern Amazonia. It updates and deepens previous research results presented in Franchetto et al. (2013). It is organized into four sections. After a summary profile of Kuikuro morphosyntax, the second and third sections present, respectively, the resources available for pluralization, with their sensitivity to the animate/inanimate and count/mass distinctions, and the system of cardinal numerals. Both sections are a required introduction to the rest of the article. The relevance of the distinction, which we consider primordial, between count nouns and mass nouns is the first-order question of the fourth section. Here we show not only Kuikuro’s basic sensitivity to this distinction, but also the specific contributions that this language brings to cross-linguistic comparisons and to the revision of possible cross-linguistic generalizations.
Keywords: Kuikuro, Carib, count mass, numerals, plural, animatness, quantifiers
Published online: 01 October 2020
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