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  • Author: Marc Tang x
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Abstract

We provide a functional analysis of the grammatical gender system of Marathi (Indo-Aryan) in Western India. The majority of the new Indo-Aryan languages typically classifies each noun of the lexicon according to biological gender as masculine and feminine. Only a few Indo-Aryan languages such as Marathi diverge in terms of agreement pattern by categorizing nouns as masculine, feminine, and neuter. Yet gender in Marathi has not been extensively described in terms of functions. We thus use apply functional typology to analyze grammatical gender in Marathi and provide detailed examples of its lexical and discourse functions.

Abstract

This paper offers quantitative typological data to investigate a revised version of the Greenberg-Sanches-Slobin generalization (GSSG), which states that (a) a language is unlikely to have both sortal classifiers and morphosyntactic plural markers, and (b) if a language does have both, then their use is in complementary distribution. Morphosyntactic plurals engage in grammatical agreement outside the noun phrase, while morphosemantic plurals that relate to collective and associative marking do not. A database of 400 phylogenetically and geographically weighted languages was created to test this generalization. The statistical test of conditional inference trees was applied to investigate the effect of areal, phylogenetic, and linguistic factors on the distribution of classifiers and morphosyntactic plural markers. The results show that the presence of classifiers is affected by areal factors as most classifier languages are concentrated in Asia. Yet, the low ratio of languages with both features simultaneously is still statistically significant. Part (a) of the GSSG can thus be seen as a statistical universal. We then look into the few languages that do have both features and tentatively conclude that part (b) also seems to hold but further investigation into some of these languages is needed.

Abstract

We examine the complex nominal classification system in Nepali (Indo-European, Indic), a language spoken at the intersection of the Indo-European and Sino-Tibetan language families, which are usually associated with prototypical examples of grammatical gender and numeral classifiers, respectively. In a typologically rare pattern, Nepali possesses two gender systems based on the human/non-human and masculine/feminine oppositions, in addition to which it has also developed an inventory of at least ten numeral classifiers as a result of contact with neighbouring Sino-Tibetan languages. Based on an analysis of the lexical and discourse functions of the three systems, we show that their functional contribution involves a largely complementary distribution of workload with respect to individual functions as well as the type of categorized nouns and referents. The study thus contributes to the ongoing discussions concerning the typology and functions of nominal classification as well as the effects of long-term language contact on language structure.

Abstract

Water leaks in distribution system mains and premise plumbing systems have very high costs and public health implications. The possible in situ remediation of leaks while a pipeline is in service could reduce leaking at costs orders of magnitude lower than conventional pipe repair, rehabilitation, or replacement. Experiences of Roman engineers and recent field observations suggest that such processes can occur naturally or may even be engineered to ameliorate leaks, including those caused by metallic corrosion. Three mechanisms of in situ leak remediation (i.e., metallic corrosion, physical clogging, and precipitation) are described in this paper, in an effort to understand the role of physical factors (e.g., temperature, pressure, and leak size) and water chemistry (e.g., pH, alkalinity, corrosion inhibitors, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity) in controlling in situ remediation for both inert (plastic and aged concrete) and chemically reactive (new concrete, copper, and iron) pipe materials. Although there are possible limitations and uncertainties with the phenomenon, including the fraction of pipeline leaks to which it might apply and the durability/longevity of remediation, such approaches may prove useful in economically sustaining some aging drinking water infrastructure assets and reducing future failure rates.

Abstract

In a numeral classifier language, a sortal classifier (C) or a mensural classifier (M) is needed when a noun is quantified by a numeral (Num). Num and C/M are adjacent cross-linguistically, either in a [Num C/M] order or [C/M Num]. Likewise, in a complex numeral with a multiplicative composition, the base may follow the multiplier as in [n×base], e.g., san-bai ‘three hundred’ in Mandarin. However, the base may also precede the multiplier in some languages, thus [base×n]. Interestingly, base and C/M seem to harmonize in word order, i.e., [n×base] numerals appear with a [Num C/M] alignment, and [base×n] numerals, with [C/M Num]. This paper follows up on the explanation of the base-C/M harmonization based on the multiplicative theory of classifiers and verifies it empirically within six language groups in the world’s foremost hotbed of classifier languages: Sinitic, Miao-Yao, Austro-Asiatic, Tai-Kadai, Tibeto-Burman, and Indo-Aryan. Our survey further reveals two interesting facts: base-initial ([base×n]) and C/M-initial ([C/M Num]) orders exist only in Tibeto-Burman (TB) within our dataset. Moreover, the few scarce violations to the base-C/M harmonization are also all in TB and are mostly languages having maintained their original base-initial numerals but borrowed from their base-final and C/M-final neighbors. We thus offer an explanation based on Proto-TB’s base-initial numerals and language contact with neighboring base-final, C/M-final languages.