Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Linguistic Typology

Founded by Plank, Frans

Editor-in-Chief: Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Maria

IMPACT FACTOR 2016: 0.304

CiteScore 2017: 0.45

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.285
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.810

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 21, Issue 2


Single versus concurrent systems: Nominal classification in Mian

Greville G. Corbett
  • Surrey Morphology Group, Literature and Languages (I1), Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, United Kingdom
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Sebastian Fedden
  • Corresponding author
  • Institut de Linguistique et Phonétique Générales et Appliquées, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3, 19 Rue des Bernardins, 75005 Paris, France
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Raphael Finkel
Published Online: 2017-10-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lingty-2017-0006


The Papuan language Mian allows us to refine the typology of nominal classification. Mian has two candidate classification systems, differing completely in their formal realization but overlapping considerably in their semantics. To determine whether to analyse Mian as a single system or concurrent systems we adopt a canonical approach. Our criteria – orthogonality of the systems (we give a precise measure), semantic compositionality, morphosyntactic alignment, distribution across parts of speech, exponence, and interaction with other features – point mainly to an analysis as concurrent systems. We thus improve our analysis of Mian and make progress with the typology of nominal classification.

Keywords: agreement; Canonical Typology; classifiers; gender; inflection; inflectional categories; Mian; morphology; number


  • Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. 2000. Classifiers: A typology of noun classification devices. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. 2010. Gender, noun class and language obsolescence: The case of Paumarí. In Eithne B. Carlin & Simon van de Kerke (eds.), Linguistics and archaeology in the Americas: The historization of language and society, 235–252. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar

  • Audring, Jenny. Forthcoming. Canonical, complex, complicated? In Francesca Di Garbo & Bernhard Wälchli (eds.), Grammatical gender and linguistic complexity. Berlin: Language Science Press.Google Scholar

  • Baerman, Matthew, Dunstan Brown & Greville G. Corbett. 2005. The syntax-morphology interface: A study of syncretism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Bakker, Peter. 1997. A language of our own: The genesis of Michif, the mixed Cree-French language of the Canadian Métis. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Bakker, Peter & Robert A. Papen. 1997. Michif: A mixed language based on Cree and French. In Sarah G. Thomason (ed.), Contact languages: A wider perspective, 295–363. Amsterdam: Benjamins.Google Scholar

  • Bond, Oliver. Forthcoming. Canonical typology. In Jenny Audring & Francesca Masini (eds.), The Oxford handbook of morphological theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Boush, Al. 1975. Tifal grammar essentials. Manuscript, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Ukarumpa. http://www-01.sil.org/pacific/png/pubs/928474531256/Tifal_gram_essent.pdf

  • Brown, Dunstan & Marina Chumakina. 2013. What there might be and what there is: An introduction to Canonical Typology. In Brown et al. (eds.) 2013, 1–19.Google Scholar

  • Brown, Dunstan, Marina Chumakina & Greville G. Corbett (eds.). 2013. Canonical morphology and syntax. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Chapman, Shirley & Desmond C. Derbyshire. 1991. Paumarí. In Desmond C. Derbyshire & Geoffrey K. Pullum (eds.), Handbook of Amazonian languages, Vol. 3, 161–352. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.Google Scholar

  • Corbett, Greville G. 1991. Gender. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Corbett, Greville G. 2000. Number. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Corbett, Greville G. 2006. Agreement. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Corbett, Greville G. 2012. Features. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Corbett, Greville G. 2013. Canonical morphosyntactic features. In Brown et al. (eds.) 2013, 48–65.Google Scholar

  • Corbett, Greville G. & Sebastian Fedden. 2016. Canonical gender. Journal of Linguistics 52. 495–531.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Corbett, Greville G. & Richard J. Hayward. 1987. Gender and number in Bayso. Lingua 73. 1–28.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Donohue, Mark. 1997. Tone systems in New Guinea. Linguistic Typology 1. 347–386.Google Scholar

  • Donohue, Mark. 2001. Animacy, class and gender in Burmeso. In Andrew Pawley, Malcolm Ross & Darrell Tryon (eds.), The boy from Bundaberg: Studies in Melanesian linguistics in honour of Tom Dutton (Pacific Linguistics 514), 97–115. Canberra: Australian National University.Google Scholar

  • Fedden, Sebastian. 2007. Women, houses, and plural objects? – Homophony in the Mian gender system. In Robyn Loughnane, Cara Penry Williams & Jana Verhoeven (eds.), In between wor(l)ds: Transformation and translation (School of Languages and Linguistics Postgraduate Research Papers on Language and Literature 6), 183–198. Melbourne: University of Melbourne. http://hdl.handle.net/11343/34686

  • Fedden, Sebastian. 2010. Ditransitives in Mian. In Andrej Malchukov, Martin Haspelmath & Bernard Comrie (eds.), Studies in ditransitive constructions: A comparative handbook, 456–485. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.Google Scholar

  • Fedden, Sebastian. 2011. A grammar of Mian. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.Google Scholar

  • Fedden, Sebastian & Greville G. Corbett. 2017. Gender and classifiers in concurrent systems: Refining the typology of nominal classification. Glossa 2(1). Article 34. http://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.177Crossref

  • Foley, William A. 2000. The languages of New Guinea. Annual Review of Anthropology 29. 357–404.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Gerner, Matthias & Walter Bisang. 2008. Inflectional speaker-role classifiers in Weining Ahmao. Journal of Pragmatics 40. 719–732.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Gerner, Matthias & Walter Bisang. 2009. Inflectional classifiers in Weining Ahmao: Mirror of the history of a people. Folia Linguistica Historica 30. 183–218.Google Scholar

  • Goddard, Cliff. 1982. Case systems and case marking in Australian languages: A new interpretation. Australian Journal of Linguistics 2. 167–196.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Grinevald, Colette. 2000. A morphosyntactic typology of classifiers. In Gunter Senft (ed.), Systems of nominal classification, 50–92. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Grondona, Verónica María. 1998. A grammar of Mocoví. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh doctoral dissertation.Google Scholar

  • Healey, Alan. 1964. The Ok language family in New Guinea. Canberra: Australian National University doctoral dissertation.Google Scholar

  • Healey, Phyllis. 1965. Telefol noun phrases (Pacific Linguistics B-4). Canberra: Australian National University.Google Scholar

  • Keenan, Edward L. 1984. Semantic correlates of the ergative/absolutive distinction. Linguistics 22. 197–223.Google Scholar

  • Kilarski, Marcin. 2013. Nominal classification: A history of its study from the classical period to the present. Amsterdam: Benjamins.Google Scholar

  • McGarrity, Laura W. & Robert Botne. 2001. Between agreement and case marking in Lamnso. In Robert Botne & Rose Vondrasek (eds.), IUWPL 3: Explorations in African linguistics: From Lamnso’ to Sesotho, 53–70. Bloomington, IN: IULC Publications.Google Scholar

  • Passer, Matthias Benjamin. 2016. (What) Do verbal classifiers classify? Lingua 174. 16–44.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Pawley, Andrew. 2005. The chequered career of the Trans New Guinea hypothesis: Recent research and its implications. In Pawley et al. (eds.) 2005, 67–108.Google Scholar

  • Pawley, Andrew, Robert Attenborough, Jack Golson & Robin Hide (eds.). 2005. Papuan pasts: Cultural, linguistic and biological histories of Papuan-speaking peoples (Pacific Linguistics 572). Canberra: Australian National University.Google Scholar

  • Polinsky, Maria. 2003. Non-canonical agreement is canonical. Transactions of the Philological Society 101. 279–312.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Ross, Malcolm. 2005. Pronouns as a preliminary diagnostic for grouping Papuan languages. In Pawley et al. (eds.) 2005, 15–66.Google Scholar

  • Round, Erich R. & Greville G. Corbett. 2016. The theory of feature systems: One feature versus two for Kayardild tense-aspect-mood. Morphology 27. 21–75.Google Scholar

  • Savà, Graziano. 2011. Endangered Bayso (Cushitic): Interesting typological and historical aspects. In Luca Busetto, Roberto Sottile, Livia Tonelli & Mauro Tosco (eds.), He bitaney lagge: Studies on language and African linguistics in honour of Marcello Lamberti, 163–174. Milano: Qu.A.S.A.R.Google Scholar

  • Seifart, Frank. 2005. The structure and use of shape-based noun classes in Miraña (North West Amazon). Nijmegen: Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen doctoral dissertation. http://hdl.handle.net/2066/26990.

  • Seifart, Frank. 2010. Nominal classification. Language and Linguistics Compass 4. 719–736.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Singer, Ruth. Forthcoming. Beyond the classifier/gender dichotomy: Ideas for an integrated approach to the typology of nominal classification with reference to the analysis of Mawng (Australia). To appear in Sebastian Fedden, Jenny Audring & Greville G. Corbett (eds.), Non-canonical gender systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Thornton, Anna M. 2009. Constraining gender assignment rules. Language Sciences 31. 14–32.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Unterbeck, Barbara. 2000. Verbal classification and number: A case study in Navajo (Athapaskan/Na-Dene). In Barbara Unterbeck, Matti Rissanen, Terttu Nevalainen & Mirja Saari (eds.), Gender in grammar and cognition, 401–460. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.Google Scholar

  • Weber, Thomas. 1997. Bimin grammar essentials. Manuscript, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Ukarumpa. http://www-01.sil.org/pacific/png/pubs/928474543843/Bimin_Grammar_Essentials.pdf

  • Wurm, Stephen A. 1982. Papuan languages of Oceania. Tübingen: Narr.Google Scholar

  • Zaliznjak, Andrej A. 1973. O ponimanii termina “padež” v lingvističeskix opisanijax. [Interpreting the term “case” in linguistic descriptions.] In Andrej A. Zaliznjak (ed.), Problemy grammatičeskogo modelirovanija, 53–87. Moskva: Nauka. Reprinted in Andrej A. Zaliznjak, Russkoe imennoe slovoizmenenie: S priloženiem izbrannix rabot po sovremennomu russkomu jazyku i obščemu jazykoznaniju, 613–647. Moskva: Jazyki slavjanskoj kul’tury, 2002.Google Scholar

About the article

Received: 2016-06-23

Revised: 2016-11-16

Published Online: 2017-10-13

Published in Print: 2017-10-26

Citation Information: Linguistic Typology, Volume 21, Issue 2, Pages 209–260, ISSN (Online) 1613-415X, ISSN (Print) 1430-0532, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/lingty-2017-0006.

Export Citation

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in