Numeral Classifier Systems

The Case of Japanese

| University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
ISBN 9789027226143 (Eur) | EUR 120.00
ISBN 9781556193705 (USA) | USD 180.00
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
Transcription Conventions
Key to Charts, Figures, and Tables
1. Introduction
2. The Japanese System — History and Morphology
3. Semantic Properties of System Members
4. Structure of the lexical Field
5. Instantiation of Universal Semantic Trends in the Japanese Numeral Classifier System
6. The Anaphoric Use of Classifier Phrases
7. The Use of Classifier Phrases and Plural Markers as Individuators
8. The Syntactic Position of the Numeral-Classifier Phrase
9. Diachronic prognosis
Appendix 1: Questionnaire Instructions
Appendix 2: Forms Listed on Questionnaire
“Pamela Downing’s book should be of great interest to all linguists working on classifiers.”
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Subjects & Metadata
BIC Subject: CF – Linguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  96009444 | Marc record