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.
Bamber, D. 1975. The area above the ordinal dominance graph and the area below the receiver operating characteristic graph. Journal of mathematical psychology 12. 387–415.10.1016/0022-2496(75)90001-2)| false
Cheng, Lisa L. S. & Rint Sybesma. 1998. Yi-wan tang, yi-ge tang: Classifiers and massifiers. Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies 28(3). 385–412.
Chierchia, Gennaro. 1998. Plurality of mass nouns and the notion of semantic parameter. In Susan Rothstein (ed.), Events and grammar, 53–104. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Corbett, Greville G. 2003a. Agreement: Canonical instances and the extent of the phenomenon. In Geert E. Booij, Janet DeCesaris, Angela Ralli & Sergio Scalise (eds.), Topics in morphology, 109–128. Barcelona: Institut Universitari de Lingüistica Aplicada.
Corbett, Greville G. 2003b. Agreement: Terms and boundaries. In Willam E. Griffin (ed.), The role of agreement in natural language, 109–122. Austin: Texas Linguistics Society for Texas Linguistic Forum.
Corbett, Greville G. 2003c. Agreement: The range of the phenomenon and the principles of the Surrey Database of Agreement. Transactions of the Philological Society 101(2). 155–202.
Corbett, Greville G. 2003c. Agreement: The range of the phenomenon and the principles of the Surrey Database of Agreement. Transactions of the Philological Society 101(2). 155–202.10.1111/1467-968X.00117)| false
Cowper, Elisabeth & Daniel C. Hall. 2012. Aspects of individuation. In Diane Massam (ed.), Count and mass across languages, 27–53. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654277.003.0003)| false
Csirmaz, Aniko & Éva Dékány. 2010. Hungarian classifiers. Paper presented at the Conference on word classes: Nature, typology, computational representation, Roma Tre University, 24–26 March.
Csirmaz, Aniko & Éva Dékány. 2014. Hungarian is a classifier language. In Raffaele Simone & Francesca Masini (eds.), Word classes: Nature, typology and representations, 141–160. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Daniel, Michaek & Edith Moravcsik. 2013. The associative plural. In Matthew S. Dryer & Martin Haspelmath (eds.), The world atlas of language structures online. http://wals.info (accessed 1 May 2018).
Dékány, Éva. 2011. A profile of the Hungarian DP. Tromsø: University of Tromsø dissertation.
Derbyshire, Desmond C. & Doris L. Payne. 1990. Noun classification systems of Amazonian languages. In Doris L. Payne (ed.), Amazonian linguistics: Studies in Lowland South American languages, 243–271. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Dienst, Stefan. 2014. A grammar of Kulina. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
Dixon, Robert M. W. 1986. Noun class and noun classification. In Colette Craig (ed.), Noun classes and categorization, 105–112. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Doetjes, Jenny. 2012. Count/mass distinctions across languages. In Claudia Maienborn, Klaus von Heusinger & Paul Portner (eds.), Semantics: An international handbook of natural language meaning, vol. 3. 2559–2580. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Donohue, Mark. 1999. A grammar of Tukang Besi. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
Dryer, Matthew S. 1989. Large linguistic areas and language sampling. Studies in Language 13(2). 257–292.
Ghomeshi, Jila & Diane Massam. 2012. The mass count distinction: Issues and perspectives. In Diane Massam (ed.), Count and mass across languages, 1–8. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654277.003.0001)| false
Göksel, Asli & Celia Kerslake. 2011. Turkish: An essential grammar. New York: Routledge.
Greenberg, Joseph H. 1974. Studies in numerical systems I: Double numeral systems. Working Papers on Language Universals 14. 75–89.
Greenberg, Joseph H. 1990. Numeral classifiers and substantival number. In Keith Denning & Suzanne Kemmer (eds.), On language: Selected writings of Joseph H. Greenberg, 166–193. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Grinevald, Colette. 2000. A morphosyntactic typology of classifiers. In Gunter Senft (ed.), Systems of nominal classification, 50–92. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Grinevald, Colette. 2015. Linguistics of classifiers. In James D. Wright (ed.), International encyclopedia of the social and behavioral sciences, 811–818. Oxford: Elsevier.
Hamedani, Ladan. 2011. The function of number in Persian. Ottawa: University of Ottawa dissertation.
Hamilton, Michael D. 2015. The syntax of Mi’gmaq. Montreal: McGill University dissertation.
Hanley, James & McNeil. Barbara. 1982. The meaning and use of the area under a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve. Radiology 143. 29–36.
Her, One-Soon & Yun-Ru Chen. 2013. Unification of numeral classifiers and plural markers: Empirical facts and implications. Pacific Asia Conference on Language, Information, and Computation (PACLIC) 27. 37–46.
Hicks, Christopher. 2016. A syntactic account for the parametric variation of the number feature. Cambridge Occasional Papers in Linguistics 9. 82–107.
Holmer, Arthur. 1993. Atayal clitics and sentence structure. Working Papers in Linguistics 40. 71–94.
Hosmer, David W. & Stanley Lemeshow. 2000. Applied logistic regression. New York: Wiley.
Hothorn, Torsten, Kurt Hornik & Achim Zeileis. 2006. Unbiased recursive partitioning: A conditional inference framework. Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics 15(3). 651–574.
Kießling, Roland. 2013. On the origin of Niger-Congo nominal classification. In Ritsuko Kikusawa & Lawrence A. Reid (eds.), Historical linguistics 2011, 43–65. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Kihm, Alain. 2005. Noun class, gender, and the lexicon-syntax-morphology interfaces. In Guglielmo Cinque & Richard S. Kayne (eds.), The Oxford handbook of comparative syntax, 459–512. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kilarski, Marcin. 2013. Nominal classification: A history of its study from the classical period to the present. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Kim, Kyumin & Paul B. Melchin. 2018. On the complementary distribution of plurals and classifiers in East Asian classifier languages. Language and linguistics compass 12(4). 1–22.
Klamer, Marian. 1998. A grammar of Kambera. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Krifka, Manfred. 1995. Common nouns: A contrastive analysis of Chinese and English. In Gregory N. Carlson & Francis J. Pelletier (eds.), The generic book, 398–411. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Levshina, Natalia. 2015. How to do linguistics with R. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
Lewis, Paul, Gary F. Simons & Charles D. Fennig. 2009. Ethnologue. Dallas: SIL International.
Li, Audrey Y. H. 2014. Structure of noun phrases: Left or right? Taiwan Journal of Linguistics 12(2). 1–32.
Link, Godehard. 1998. Algebraic semantics in language and philosophy. Stanford: CSLI.
Lo, Yi-Chieh. 2015. Plural marker -men and numeral classifiers: Convergence and divergence. Taipei: National Chengchi University MA thesis.
Mathieu, Eric. 2012. On the mass-count distinction in Ojibwe. In Diane Massam (ed.), Count and mass across languages, 172–198. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Mathieu, Eric. 2012. On the mass-count distinction in Ojibwe. In Diane Massam (ed.), Count and mass across languages, 172–198. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654277.003.0010)| false
Nichols, Johanna. 1992. Linguistic diversity in space and time. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Nomoto, Hiroki. 2013. Number in classifier languages. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota dissertation.
Payne, Doris L. 1985. Aspects of the grammar of Yagua. Los Angeles: University of California dissertation.
Perry, John R. 2007. Persian morphology. In Alan S. Kaye (ed.), Morphologies of Asia and Africa, 975–1019. Pennsylvania: Eisenbrauns.
Peterson, David A. 2002. On Khumi verbal pronominal morphology. Berkeley Linguistics Society (BLS) 28S. 99–110.
R Core Team. 2017. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing.
Rijkhoff, Jan. 2000. When can a language have adjectives? An implicational universal. In Petra M. Vogel & Bernard Comrie (eds.), Approaches to the typology of word classes, 217–257. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
Tagliamonte, Sali A. & Harald Baayen. 2012. Models, forests, and trees of York English: Was/were variation as a case study for statistical practice. Language variation and change 24. 135–178.10.1017/S0954394512000129)| false
Zhang, Niina N. 2012. Countability and numeral classifiers in Mandarin. In Diane Massam (ed.), Count and mass across languages, 220–237. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654277.003.0012)| false
The official journal of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE), Folia Linguistica covers all non-historical areas in the traditional disciplines of general linguistics, and also sociological, discoursal, computational and psychological aspects of language and linguistic theory. Folia Linguistica Historica is exclusively devoted to diachronic linguistics (both historical and comparative) and to the history of linguistics.