Numeral Classifier Systems

The Case of Japanese

| University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
HardboundAvailable
ISBN 9789027226143 (Eur) | EUR 120.00
ISBN 9781556193705 (USA) | USD 180.00
 
e-Book
ISBN 9789027276117 | EUR 120.00 | USD 180.00
 
Numeral Classifier Systems considers the functional significance of the Japanese numeral system, its conclusions based on a corpus of 500 uses of classifier constructions drawn from oral and written Japanese texts.
Interestingly, although the Japanese system appears to conform at least superficially to universalistic predictions about its semantic structure, this study reports that in actual usage, the semantic role of classifiers is slight — only very rarely do they carry any lexical information unavailable from the context or the noun with which the classifier occurs. It does appear, however, that the system has an important role to play in providing pronoun-like anaphoric elements and in marking pragmatic distinctions such as the individuatedness of referents and the newness of numerical information. For these reasons, the classifier system is deeply involved in a number of subsystems of Japanese grammar, and the demise of the system (sometimes rumored to be impending) would have substantial implications for the structure of the language as a whole.
[Studies in Discourse and Grammar, 4]  1996.  xx, 336 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Preface
vii
Transcription Conventions
ix
Key to Charts, Figures, and Tables
xvii
1. Introduction
1
2. The Japanese System — History and Morphology
35
3. Semantic Properties of System Members
53
4. Structure of the lexical Field
121
5. Instantiation of Universal Semantic Trends in the Japanese Numeral Classifier System
135
6. The Anaphoric Use of Classifier Phrases
159
7. The Use of Classifier Phrases and Plural Markers as Individuators
193
8. The Syntactic Position of the Numeral-Classifier Phrase
219
9. Diachronic prognosis
263
Notes
269
Appendix 1: Questionnaire Instructions
289
Appendix 2: Forms Listed on Questionnaire
293
References
311
Index
327
“Pamela Downing’s book should be of great interest to all linguists working on classifiers.”
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Subjects
BIC Subject: CF – Linguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  96009444