Pavel Caha at Fishfeed (09.02.21)

Next Tuesday (09.02) at 13.15, Pavel Caha from Masaryk University will hold a talk entitled “Semantic parameters, syncretism and counting“. The talk will be held on zoom. 

The abstract of the talk can be found below below.  The slides can be accessed here. 

Semantic parameters, syncretism and counting

In the languages of the world, there appears to be a bi-furcation among
languages depending on whether numerals combine with a noun in the
singular (e.g., Turkish, Estonian) or plural (e.g., English, Czech). A
relatively common approach is to explain this variation by invoking
“semantic parameters.” The idea is that the singular (or plural) in a
language of the first type does not mean the same thing as in a language
of the other type. In this talk, I will suggest an alternative way of
thinking about the data. I will give reasons to think that the a noun
after numerals has a special grammatical number that should not be
unified with the singular or the plural denotation. When the counted
noun looks the same as one of these, this is because the special
“counting” number is morphologically realized the same as singular or
plural (classical syncretism). The evidence for this claim will be drawn
from a variety of languages including Serbian, Bulgarian, Ossetic,
Saami.

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