FACTOID # 12: It's not the government they hate: Washington DC has the highest number of hate crimes per capita in the US.
 
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 
   
 
WHAT'S NEW
 

SEARCH ALL

FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 

 

(* = Graphable)

 

 


Encyclopedia > Grammatical number

In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, and adjective and verb agreement that expresses count distinctions (such as "one" or "more than one").[1] Look up number in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A grammatical category is a general term. ... In languages, agreement is a form of cross-reference between different parts of a sentence or phrase. ...


The count distinctions typically, but not always, correspond to the actual count of the referents of the marked noun or pronoun. In general, a reference is something that refers or points to something else, or acts as a connection or a link between two things. ... In linguistics, a marker is a free or bound morpheme that indicates the grammatical function of the marked word or sentence. ...


The word "number" is also used in linguistics to describe the distinction between certain grammatical aspects that indicate the number of times an event occurs, such as the semelfactive aspect, the iterative aspect, etc. For that use of the term, see "Grammatical aspect". In linguistics, the grammatical aspect of a verb defines the temporal flow (or lack thereof) in the described event or state. ...

Contents

Overview

Most languages of the world have formal means to express differences of number. The most widespread distinction, as found in English and many other languages, involves a simple two-way number contrast between singular and plural (car / cars; child / children, etc.). Other more elaborate systems of number are described below.


Grammatical number is a morphological category characterized by the expression of quantity through inflection or agreement. As an example, consider the English sentences below: Quantity is a kind of property which exists as magnitude or multitude. ...

That apple on the table is fresh.
Those two apples on the table are fresh.

The number of apples is marked on the noun — "apple", singular number (one item) vs. "apples", plural number (more than one item) —, on the demonstrative, "that/those", and on the verb, "is/are". Note that, especially in the second sentence, this information can be considered redundant, since quantity is already indicated by the numeral "two". In language, redundancy often takes the form of phrases which repeat a concept with a different word. ...


A language has grammatical number when its nouns are subdivided into morphological classes according to the quantity they express, such that: For other uses, see Morphology. ...

  1. Every noun belongs to a single number class. (Number partitions nouns into disjoint classes.)
  2. Noun modifiers (such as adjectives) and verbs have different forms for each number class, and must be inflected to match the number of the nouns they refer to. (Number is an agreement category.)

This is the case in English: every noun is either singular or plural (a few, such as "fish", can be either, according to context), and at least some modifiers of nouns — namely the demonstratives, the personal pronouns, the articles, and verbs — are inflected to agree with the number of the nouns they refer to: "this car" and "these cars" are correct, while "*this cars" or "*these car" are ungrammatical. In linguistics, a noun or noun substantive is a lexical category which is defined in terms of how its members combine with other grammatical kinds of expressions. ... In grammar, a modifier or qualifier is a word that modifies another word, a phrase, or a clause. ... It has been suggested that Verbal agreement be merged into this article or section. ... Inflection of the Spanish lexeme for cat, with blue representing the masculine gender, pink representing the feminine gender, grey representing the form used for mixed-gender, and green representing the plural number. ... In languages, agreement is a form of cross-reference between different parts of a sentence or phrase. ... // Demonstratives are deictic words (they depend on an external frame of reference) that indicate which entities a speaker refers to, and distinguishes those entities from others. ... The personal pronouns of English can have various forms according to gender, number, person, and case. ... An article is a word that combines with a noun to indicate the type of reference being made by the noun. ... It has been suggested that Verbal agreement be merged into this article or section. ...


Not all languages have number as a grammatical category. In those that do not, quantity must be expressed either directly, with numerals, or indirectly, through optional quantifiers. However, many of these languages compensate for the lack of grammatical number with an extensive system of measure words. Different cultures have different traditional numeral systems used for writing numbers and for naming large numbers. ... In language and logic, quantification is a construct that specifies the extent of validity of a predicate, that is the extent to which a predicate holds over a range of things. ... Measure words, in linguistics, are words (or morphemes) that are used in combination with a numeral to indicate the count of nouns. ...


There is a hierarchy among number categories: No language distinguishes a trial unless having a dual, and no language has dual without a plural.[2]


Number in specific languages

English

Main article: English plural

English is typical of most world languages, in distinguishing only between singular and plural number. The plural form of a word is usually created by adding the suffix -(e)s. Common exceptions include the pronouns, which have irregular plurals, as in I versus we, because they are ancient and frequently used words. This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Look up Suffix in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


French

In its written form, French declines nouns for number (singular or plural). In speech, however, the majority of nouns (and adjectives) are not for the most part declined for number. This is because the typical plural suffix "-s" or "-es", is silent, and thus does not really indicate a change in pronunciation. However:

  • the spoken distinction can reappear when liaison occurs and
  • some plurals do differ from the singular in pronunciation; for example, masculine singulars in -al [-al] typically form masculine plurals in -aux [-o].

Normally, the article or determiner is the primary indicator of number. Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ...


Hebrew

In Modern Hebrew, a Semitic language, most nouns have only singular and plural forms, such as ספר /'sɛfɛʁ/ "book" and ספרים /sfaʁ'im/ "books", but some have distinct dual forms using a distinct dual suffix (largely nouns pertaining to numbers or time, such as אלפיים /al'pajim/ "two thousand" and שבועיים /ʃvu'ajim/ "two weeks"), some use this dual suffix for their regular plurals (largely body parts that tend to come in pairs, such as עיניים /eɪ'najim/ "eyes", as well as some that don't, such as שיניים /ʃi'najim/ "teeth"), and some are inherently dual (such as מכנסיים /mɪxna'sajim/ "pants" and אופניים /ofa'najim/ "bicycle"). Adjectives, verbs, and pronouns agree with their subjects' or antecedents' numbers, but only have a two-way distinction between singular and plural; dual nouns entail plural adjectives, verbs, and pronouns. Hebrew redirects here. ... The Semitic languages are the northeastern subfamily of the Afro-Asiatic languages, and the only family of this group spoken in Asia. ...


Russian

In modern Russian, grammatical number is more complex and in many cases involves declension. A single object is expressed in the nominative singular form, two through four objects in the genitive singular, and 5 through 20 objects in the genitive plural. For example, "у меня есть книга"("I have a book, or I have the book"), "у меня три книгы"- I have three books(literally, "By me three of book") or "у меня пять книг", which, literally translated, means "By me five of books". In addition, the numbers one, two and four are grammatically declined by gender and plurality. For example, "У меня один коть,У меня одна книга,у меня одни джинсы"- I have one cat, I have one book, I have one (pair) of jeans. All of the above applies also to compound numbers, so "I have thirty one cats" would be rendered "I have thirty one cat(nominative singular)" in the Russian language. In linguistics, declension is the inflection of nouns, pronouns and adjectives to indicate such features as number (typically singular vs. ... In linguistics, grammatical gender is a morphological category associated with the expression of gender through inflection or agreement. ...


Types of number

Singular versus plural

Main article: Plural

In most languages with grammatical number, nouns, and sometimes other parts of speech, have two forms, the singular, for one instance of a concept, and the plural, for more than one instance. Usually, the singular is the unmarked form of a word, and the plural is obtained by inflecting the singular. This is the case in English: car/cars, box/boxes, man/men. There may be exceptional nouns whose plural is identical to the singular: one fish / two fish. Look up plural in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In linguistics, a marker is a free or bound morpheme that indicates the grammatical function of the marked word or sentence. ... Inflection of the Spanish lexeme for cat, with blue representing the masculine gender, pink representing the feminine gender, grey representing the form used for mixed-gender, and green representing the plural number. ...


Singulative versus collective

Main article: Singulative number

Some languages differentiate between an unmarked form, the collective, which is indifferent in respect to number, and a marked form for single entities, called the singulative in this context. For example, Japanese and some Brythonic languages. A rough example in English is "snowflake", which may be considered a singulative form of "snow" (however, English has no productive process of forming singulative nouns, and no singulative modifiers, so it cannot be said to have a singulative number). In other languages, singulatives can be regularly formed from collective nouns; e.g. Standard Arabic حجر ḥajar "stone" → حجرة ḥajara "(individual) stone", بقر baqar "cattle" → بقرة baqara "(single) cow". In Russian, the suffix for forming singulative form is -ин- -in-; e.g. град grad "hail" → градина gradina "hailstone", лёд lyod "ice" → льдина l'dina "block of ice". In both Russian and Arabic, the singulative form always takes on the feminine gender. In morpheme-based morphology, a null morpheme is a morpheme that is realized by a phonologically null affix (an empty string of phonological segments). ... The Brythonic languages (or Brittonic languages) form one of the two branches of the Insular Celtic language family. ... In grammar, a modifier or qualifier is a word that modifies another word, a phrase, or a clause. ... In linguistics, a collective noun is a word used to define a group of objects, where objects can be people, animals, inanimate things, concepts, or other things. ... Modern Standard Arabic is the form of Arabic currently used in Arabic books, newspapers and nearly all written media. ... In linguistics, grammatical gender is a morphological category associated with the expression of gender through inflection or agreement. ...


Dual

The distinction between a "singular" number (one) and a "plural" number (more than one) found in English is not the only possible classification. Another one is "singular" (one), "dual" (two) and "plural" (more than two). Dual number existed in Proto-Indo-European, persisted in many of the now extinct ancient Indo-European languages that descended from it—Sanskrit, Ancient Greek and Gothic for example—and can still be found in a few modern Indo-European languages such as Icelandic and Slovene language. Many more modern Indo-European languages show residual traces of the dual, as in the English distinctions both vs. all, either vs. any, twice vs. <number> times (an archaic thrice also exists, meaning "three times"), and so on. Common Slavic had a complete singular-dual-plural number system, although the dual paradigms showed considerable syncretism. ... The Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) is the hypothetical common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, spoken by the Proto-Indo-Europeans. ... For other uses, see Indo-European. ... Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... Gothic is an extinct Germanic language that was spoken by the Goths. ... This article needs cleanup. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ...


Many Semitic languages also have dual number. For instance, in Arabic all nouns can have singular, plural, or dual forms. Masculine plural nouns end with ون and feminine plural nouns end with ات, whilst ان is added to the end of a noun to indicate that it is dual. 14th century BC diplomatic letter in Akkadian, found in Tell Amarna. ...


Trial

The trial number is a grammatical number referring to 'three items', in contrast to 'singular' (one item), 'dual' (two items), and 'plural' (four or more items). Tolomako, Lihir, Manam and Tok Pisin (though only in its pronouns) have trial number. Tolomako is a language of the Oceanic subgroup of Austronesian languages. ... Lihir is a language of Papua New Guinea. ... This article includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ...


Paucal

Paucal number, for a few (as opposed to many) instances of the referent (e.g. in Hopi, Warlpiri and in Arabic for some nouns). See Plural for some examples. Hopi is an Uto-Aztecan language spoken by the Hopi people of northeastern Arizona, USA, although today some Hopi are monolingual English speakers. ... The Warlpiri language is spoken by about 3000 of the Warlpiri people in Australias Northern Territory. ... Arabic redirects here. ... Look up plural in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Distributive plural

Distributive plural number, for many instances viewed as independent individuals (e.g. in Navajo). Reading Adahooniigii — The Navajo Language Monthly Navajo or Navaho (native name: Diné bizaad) is an Athabaskan language (of Na-Dené stock) spoken in the southwest United States by the Navajo people (Diné). It is geographically and linguistically one of the Southern Athabaskan languages (the majority of Athabaskan languages are spoken...


Inverse number

The languages of the Kiowa-Tanoan family have three numbers — singular, dual, and plural — and exhibit an unusual system of marking number, called inverse number (or number toggling). In this scheme, every countable noun has what might be called its "inherent" or "expected" numbers, and is unmarked for these. When a noun appears in an "inverse" (atypical) number, it is inflected to mark this. For example, in Jemez, where nouns take the ending -sh to denote an inverse number, there are four noun classes which inflect for number as follows: Kiowa-Tanoan languages Kiowa-Tanoan (also Tanoan-Kiowa) is a family of languages spoken in New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. ... A count noun is a noun which is itself counted, or the units which are used to count it. ... In linguistics, the term noun class refers to a system of categorizing nouns. ...

class description singular dual plural
I animate nouns - -sh -sh
II some inanimate nouns -sh -sh -
III other inanimate nouns - -sh -
IV mass (non-countable) nouns (n/a) (n/a) (n/a)

As can be seen, class-I nouns are inherently singular, class-II nouns are inherently plural, class-III nouns are inherently singular or plural. Class-IV nouns cannot be counted and are never marked with -sh. (From Sprott 1992, p. 53.)


A similar system is seen in Kiowa (Kiowa is distantly related to Tanoan languages like Jemez): Pre-contact distribution of the Kiowa language Kiowa is a Kiowa-Tanoan language spoken by the Kiowa Tribe. ...

class singular dual plural
I - - -gɔ
II -gɔ - -
III -ɡɔ - -ɡɔ
IV (n/a) (n/a) (n/a)

Formal expression of number

Synthetic languages typically distinguish grammatical number by inflection. (Note that analytic languages, such as Chinese, don't have grammatical number.) In most languages, the singular is formally unmarked, whereas the plural is marked in some way. Other languages, most notably the Bantu languages, mark both the singular and the plural, for instance Swahili (see example below). The third logical possibility, rarely found in languages, is an unmarked plural contrasting with marked singular. Below are some examples of number affixes for nouns (where the inflecting morphemes are underlined): A synthetic language, in linguistic typology, is a language with a high morpheme-per-word ratio. ... Inflection of the Spanish lexeme for cat, with blue representing the masculine gender, pink representing the feminine gender, grey representing the form used for mixed-gender, and green representing the plural number. ... An analytic language is any language where syntax and meaning are shaped more by use of particles and word order than by inflection. ... Spoken Chinese The Chinese spoken language(s) comprise(s) many regional variants. ... In linguistics, a marker is a free or bound morpheme that indicates the grammatical function of the marked word or sentence. ... Map showing the approximate distribution of Bantu vs. ... This article is about the language. ... Look up affix in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In morpheme-based morphology, a morpheme is the smallest lingual unit that carries a semantic interpretation. ...

  • Affixation (by adding or removing suffixes, prefixes, or circumfixes):
    • Estonian puu "tree, wood" (singular) — puud "trees, woods" (plural)
    • Finnish: lehmä "cow" (singular) — lehmät "cows" (plural)
    • Slovenian: lipa "linden" (singular) — lipi "linden" (dual) — lipe "linden" (plural)
    • Sanskrit puruṣas "man" (singular) - puruṣau "two men" (dual) - puruṣās "men" (plural)
    • Swahili: mtoto "child" (singular) — watoto "children" (plural)
    • Luganda: omusajja "man" (singular) — abasajja "men" (plural)
    • Berber: أمغر amghar "woman" (singular) — تمغرت tmghart "women" (plural)
    • Georgian: კაცი k'ac-i "man" (singular) - კაცები k'ac-eb-i "men" (where -i is the nominative case marker)
  • Simulfixion (through various kinds of internal sound alternations):
    • Arabic: كِتَاب kitāb "book" (singular) — كُتُب kutub "books" (plural)
    • Welsh: maharen "ram" - meheryn "rams"
  • Reduplication (through doubling):
    • Indonesian: orang "person" (singular) — orang-orang "people" (plural)
    • Somali: buug "book" (singular) — buug-ag "books" (plural)

Elements marking number may appear on nouns and pronouns in dependent-marking languages or on verbs and adjectives in head-marking languages. Look up affix in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Look up Suffix in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A circumfix or circumflection is an affix, a morpheme which is placed around another morpheme. ... Slovenian or Slovene (slovenski jezik or slovenščina) is an Indo-European language that belongs to the family of South Slavic languages. ... Sanskrit ( , for short ) is a classical language of India, a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... This article is about the language. ... Luganda is a Bantu language and is spoken mainly in Uganda by the people of Buganda. ... In linguistics, a simulfix is a type of affix that changes one or more existing phonemes in order to modify the meaning of a morpheme. ... In linguistics, apophony (also ablaut, gradation, alternation, internal modification, stem modification, stem alternation, replacive morphology, stem mutation, internal inflection) is the alternation of sounds within a word that indicates grammatical information (often inflectional). ... Arabic redirects here. ... Welsh redirects here, and this article describes the Welsh language. ... Reduplication, in linguistics, is a morphological process in which the root or stem of a word, or only part of it, is repeated. ... In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a pro-form that substitutes for a noun or noun phrase with or without a determiner, such as you and they in English. ... A dependent-marking language is one where the grammatical marks showing relations between different constituents of a phrase tend to be placed on the dependents or modifiers, rather than the heads or nuclei, of the phrase in question. ... It has been suggested that Verbal agreement be merged into this article or section. ... An adjective is a part of speech which modifies a noun, usually making its meaning more specific. ... A head-marking language is one where the grammatical marks showing relations between different constituents of a phrase tend to be placed on the heads (or nuclei) of the phrase in question, rather than the modifiers or dependents. ...

English
(dependent-marking)
Western Apache
(head-marking)
Paul is teaching the cowboy. Paul idilohí yiłch’ígó’aah.
Paul is teaching the cowboys. Paul idilohí yiłch’ídagó’aah.

In the English sentence above, the plural suffix -s is added to the noun cowboy. In the Western Apache, a head-marking language, equivalent, a plural prefix da- is added to the verb yiłch’ígó’aah "he is teaching him", resulting in yiłch’ídagó’aah "he is teaching them" while noun idilohí "cowboy" is unmarked for number. Links Western Apache-English Dictionary (White Mountain) White Mountain Apache Tribe (Arizona Intertribal Council) San Carlos Apache Tribe (Arizona Intertribal Council) Tonto Apache Tribe (Arizona Intertribal Council) Yavapai-Apache Nation Official Website Yavapai-Apache Nation (Arizona Intertribal Council) White Mountain Apache Tribe White Mountain Apache photographs map of Fort Apache... A head-marking language is one where the grammatical marks showing relations between different constituents of a phrase tend to be placed on the heads (or nuclei) of the phrase in question, rather than the modifiers or dependents. ...


Number particles

Plurality is sometimes marked by a specialized number particle (or number word). This is frequent in Australian and Austronesian languages. An example from Tagalog is the word mga: compare bahay "house" with mga bahay "houses". In Kapampangan, certain nouns optionally denote plurality by secondary stress: ing laláki "man" and ing babái "woman" become ding láláki "men" and ding bábái "women". The Austronesian languages are a language family widely dispersed throughout the islands of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, with a few members spoken on continental Asia. ... Tagalog (pronunciation: ) is one of the major languages of the Republic of the Philippines. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Obligatoriness of number marking

In many languages, such as English, number is obligatorily expressed in every grammatical context; in other languages, however, number expression is limited to certain classes of nouns, such as animates or referentially prominent nouns (as with proximate forms in most Algonquian languages, opposed to referentially less prominent obviative forms). Animacy is a grammatical category, usually of nouns, which influences the form a verb takes when it is associated with that noun. ... The Algonquian languages are a subfamily of Native American languages that includes most of the languages in the Algic language family (others are Wiyot and Yurok of northwestern California). ...


A very common situation is for plural number to not be marked if there is any other overt indication of number, as for example in Hungarian: virág "flower"; virágok "flowers"; hat virág "six flowers".


Number agreement

Verbs

In many languages, verbs are conjugated according to number. Using French as an example, one says je vois (I see), but nous voyons (we see). The verb voir (to see) changes from vois in the first person singular to voyons in the plural. In everyday English, this often happens in the third person (she sees, they see), but not in other grammatical persons, except with the verb to be. In linguistics, conjugation is the creation of derived forms of a verb from its principal parts by inflection (regular alteration according to rules of grammar). ...


Adjectives and determiners

Adjectives often agree with the number of the noun they modify. For example, in French, one says un grand arbre [œ̃ gʀɑ̃t aʀbʀ] "a tall tree", but deux grands arbres [dø gʀɑ̃z aʀbʀ] "two tall trees". The singular adjective grand becomes grands in the plural, unlike English "tall", which remains unchanged. In grammar, an adjective is a word whose main syntactic role is to modify a noun or pronoun (called the adjectives subject), giving more information about what the noun or pronoun refers to. ...


Other determiners may agree with number. In English, the demonstratives "this", "that" change to "these", "those" in the plural, and the indefinite article "a", "an" is either omitted or changes to "some". In French and German, the definite articles have gender distinctions in the singular but not the plural. In Spanish and Portuguese, both definite and indefinite articles are inflected for gender and number, e.g. Portuguese o, a "the" (singular, masc./fem.), os, as "the" (plural, masc./fem.); um, uma "a(n)" (singular, masc./fem.), uns, umas "some" (plural, masc./fem.) Determiners are words which quantify or identify nouns. ... // Demonstratives are deictic words (they depend on an external frame of reference) that indicate which entities a speaker refers to, and distinguishes those entities from others. ... An article is a word that is put next to a noun to indicate the type of reference being made to the noun. ... Definite Article is the title of British comedian Eddie Izzards 1996 performance released on video and CD. The video/DVD and CD performances were both recorded on different nights at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London, England. ... In linguistics, grammatical gender is a morphological category associated with the expression of gender through inflection or agreement. ...


In the Finnish sentence t ovat pimei "Nights are dark", each word referring to the plural noun yöt "nights" ("night" = ) is pluralized (night-PL is-PL dark-PL-partitive). The basic meaning of the Partitive case is partialness, without result or without specifying identity. In the Finnish language, its used to express unknown identities and irresultative actions. ...


Exceptions

See also: Synesis and Plurale tantum

Sometimes, grammatical number will not represent the actual quantity. For example, in Ancient Greek neuter plurals took a singular verb. The plural form of a pronoun may also be applied to a single individual as a sign of importance, respect or generality, as in the pluralis majestatis, the T-V distinction, and the generic "you", found in many languages, or, in English, when using the singular "they" for gender-neutrality. Synesis is a grammatical term, also known as constructio ad sensum In Latin, a construction in which a word takes the gender or number, not of the word with which it should regularly agree, but of some other word implied in that word. ... A plurale tantum (plural: pluralia tantum) is a noun that appears only in the plural form and does not have a singular variant, though it may still refer to one or many of the objects it names. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... The word neuter can refer to: the property of being neither biologically male or female: being asexual the sterilization (castration, spaying, etc. ... Pluralis majestatis (majestic plural) is the plural pronoun where it is used to refer to a single person holding a high office, such as a monarch, bishop, pope, or university rector. ... In sociolinguistics, a T-V distinction describes the situation wherein a language has second-person pronouns that distinguish varying levels of politeness, social distance, courtesy, familiarity, or insult toward the addressee. ... In English grammar, generic you or indefinite you is the use of the pronoun you to refer to an unspecified person. ... Singular they is a popular, non-technical expression for uses of the pronoun they (and its inflected forms) when plurality is not required by the context. ... Non-sexist language (gender-generic, gender-inclusive, gender-neutral, or sex-neutral language) is language that attempts to refer neither to males nor females when discussing an abstract or hypothetical person whose sex cannot otherwise be determined, as opposed to sexist language, which attempts to refer to males. ...


In Arabic, the plural of a non-human noun (one that refers to an animal or to an inanimate entity regardless of whether the noun is grammatically masculine or feminine in the singular) is treated as feminine singular—this is called the inanimate plural. For example: Arabic is a Semitic language. ... Animacy is a grammatical category, usually of nouns, which influences the form a verb takes when it is associated with that noun. ...

رجل جميل (rajul jamīl) 'beautiful/handsome man': rajul (man) is masculine singular, so it takes the masculine singular adjective jamīl.
بيت جميل (bayt jamīl) 'beautiful house': bayt (house) is masculine singular, so it takes the masculine singular jamīl.
كلب جميل (kalb jamīl) 'beautiful dog':kalb (dog) is masculine singular, so it takes the masculine singular jamīl.
بنت جميلة (bint jamīlah) 'beautiful girl': bint is feminine singular, so it takes the feminine singular jamīlah.
سيارة جميلة (sayyārah jamīlah) 'beautiful car': sayyārah is feminine singular, so it takes the feminine singular jamīlah.
رجال جمال (rijāl jimāl) 'beautiful/handsome men': rijāl (men) is masculine plural, so it takes the masculine plural jimāl.
بنات جميلات (banāt jamīlāt) 'beautiful girls': banāt is feminine plural, so it takes the feminine plural jamīlāt.

but

بيوت جميلة (buyūt jamīlah) 'beautiful houses': buyūt (houses) is non-human plural, and so takes the inanimate plural (feminine singular) jamīlah.
سيارات جميلة (sayyārāt jamīlah) 'beautiful cars': sayyārāt is non-human plural, and so takes the inanimate plural jamīlah.
كلاب جميلة (kilāb jamīlah) 'beautiful dogs': kilāb is non-human plural, and so takes the inanimate plural jamīlah.

Collective nouns

Main article: Collective noun

A collective noun is a word that designates a group of objects or beings regarded as a whole, such as "flock", "team", or "corporation". Although many languages treat collective nouns as singular, in others they may be interpreted as plural. In British English, phrases such as the committee are meeting are common (the so-called agreement in sensu "in meaning"; with the meaning of a noun, rather than with its form). The use of this type of construction varies with dialect and level of formality. In linguistics, a collective noun is a word used to define a group of objects, where objects can be people, animals, inanimate things, concepts, or other things. ... British English (BrE, BE, en-GB) is the broad term used to distinguish the forms of the English language used in the United Kingdom from forms used elsewhere in the Anglophone world. ...


Semantic vs. grammatical number

All languages are able to specify the quantity of referents. They may do so by lexical means with words such as English a few, some, one, two, five hundred. However, not every language has a grammatical category of number. Grammatical number is expressed by morphological and/or syntactic means. That is, it is indicated by certain grammatical elements, such as through affixes or number words. Grammatical number may be thought of as the indication of semantic number through grammar. A lexicon is a list of words together with additional word-specific information, i. ... For other uses, see Morphology. ... In linguistics, syntax is the study of the rules, or patterned relations, that govern the way the words in a sentence come together. ... Look up affix in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In general, semantics (from the Greek semantikos, or significant meaning, derived from sema, sign) is the study of meaning, in some sense of that term. ... For the rules of English grammar, see English grammar and Disputes in English grammar. ...


Languages that express quantity only by lexical means lack a grammatical category of number. For instance, in Khmer, neither nouns nor verbs carry any grammatical information concerning number: such information can only be conveyed by lexical items such as khlah 'some', pii-bey 'a few', and so on.[3]. Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ...


Auxiliary languages

Auxiliary languages often have fairly simple systems of grammatical number. In one of the most common schemes (found, for example, in Interlingua and Ido), nouns and pronouns distinguish between singular and plural, but not other numbers, and adjectives and verbs do not display any number agreement. Note however that in Esperanto adjectives must agree in both number and case with the nouns that they qualify. An international auxiliary language (sometimes abbreviated as IAL or auxlang) is a language used (or to be used in the future) for communication between people from different nations who do not share a common native language. ... This article is about the auxiliary language created by the International Auxiliary Language Association. ... Ido (pronounced ) is a constructed language created with the goal of becoming a universal second language for speakers of different linguistic backgrounds as a language easier to learn than ethnic languages. ... This article is about the language. ...


See also

A count noun is a noun which is itself counted, or the units which are used to count it. ... This article is about the Hebrew word. ... Generic antecedents are representatives of classes of people, indicated by a reference in ordinary language (most often a pronoun), where gender is typically unknown or irrelevant. ... In languages, agreement is a form of cross-reference between different parts of a sentence or phrase. ... In linguistics, conjugation is the creation of derived forms of a verb from its principal parts by inflection (regular alteration according to rules of grammar). ... For other uses, see Point of view (literature). ... Inflection of the Spanish lexeme for cat, with blue representing the masculine gender, pink representing the feminine gender, grey representing the form used for mixed-gender, and green representing the plural number. ... Measure words, in linguistics, are words (or morphemes) that are used in combination with a numeral to indicate the count of nouns. ... In English, numbers are pronounced different ways in different regions. ... In linguistics, the term noun class refers to a system of categorizing nouns. ... Different cultures have different traditional numeral systems used for writing numbers and for naming large numbers. ... A plurale tantum (plural: pluralia tantum) is a noun that appears only in the plural form and does not have a singular variant, though it may still refer to one or many of the objects it names. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with La Spezia-Rimini Line. ...

Notes

  1. ^ SIL Dictionary of Linguistic Terms: What is Number?
  2. ^ Greenberg, 1972.
  3. ^ See, for example, the Linguistic sketch in Khmer article at UCLA Language Materials project.

Bibliography

  • Beard, R. (1992) Number. In W. Bright (ed.) International Encyclopedia of Linguistics.
  • Corbett, G. (2000). Number. Cambridge University Press.
  • Greenberg, Joseph H. (1972) Numeral classifiers and substantival number: Problems in the genesis of a linguistic type. Working Papers on Language Universals (Stanford University) 9. 1-39.
  • Laycock, Henry. (2005) 'Mass nouns, Count nouns and Non-count nouns' Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Oxford: Elsevier.
  • Laycock, Henry. (2006) Words without Objects. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Merrifield, William (1959). Classification of Kiowa nouns. International Journal of American Linguistics, 25, 269-271.
  • Mithun, Marianne (1999). The languages of native North America (pp. 81-82, 444-445). Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-23228-7.
  • Sprott, Robert (1992). Jemez syntax. (Doctoral dissertation, University of Chicago, USA).
  • Sten, Holgar (1949) Le nombre grammatical. (Travaux du Cercle Linguistique de Copenhague, 4.) Copenhagen: Munksgaard.
  • Watkins, Laurel J.; & McKenzie, Parker. (1984). A grammar of Kiowa. Studies in the anthropology of North American Indians. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-4727-3.
  • Weigel, William F. (1993). Morphosyntactic toggles. Papers from the 29th Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society (Vol. 29, pp. 467-478). Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society.
  • Wiese, Heike (2003). Numbers, language, and the human mind. Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-83182-2.
  • Wonderly, Gibson, and Kirk (1954). Number in Kiowa: Nouns, demonstratives, and adjectives. International Journal of American Linguistics, 20, 1-7.

The headquarters of the Cambridge University Press, in Trumpington Street, Cambridge. ... For other uses, see University of Chicago (disambiguation). ... The headquarters of the Cambridge University Press, in Trumpington Street, Cambridge. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Grammatical number - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2020 words)
Grammatical number is expressed by morphological and/or syntactic means.
Grammatical number may be thought of as the indication of semantic number through grammar.
Elements marking number may appear on nouns and pronouns in dependent-marking languages or on verbs and adjectives in head-marking languages.
Grammatical number (799 words)
In linguistics, number is a grammatical category that specifies the quantity of a noun or affects the form of a verb or other part of speech depending on the quantity of the noun to which it refers.
Grammatical number is distinct from the use of numerals to specify the exact quantify of a noun; number is usually vague.
Other possibilities are dual number, expressing the existence of precisely two instances of the noun, trial number for three of a noun, paucal number for few but not of a noun, or a collective number that expresses the whole class of the nouns (e.g., mankind).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

COMMENTARY     


Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m