Author Topic: Compound number formation  (Read 6205 times)

Offline zaba

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Compound number formation
« on: May 03, 2014, 03:49:31 AM »
so let's see you have a language like this:

ten five-with
'fifteen'

Otherwise the language is modifier plus head, but here it looks like head + modifier, no?
Also, how would you call these two words? Obviously both numbers, but is there a special term for "five"?

Offline Daniel

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Re: Compound number formation
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2014, 10:35:26 AM »
I don't have a specific answer to your questions, but here are my thoughts:

1. That looks exactly like German in a sense:
vier=und=zwanzig
four and twenty
'twenty four'

2. There are languages with a true 'and' conjunction and others that use 'with' for that function. See:
Stassen, L. (2000). AND-languages and WITH-languages. Linguistic Typology, 4, 1–54. http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/lity.2000.4.1.1
I wouldn't be surprised if in this language 'with' is used more generally as a noun phrase conjunction.
Then again, I don't know whether this is otherwise common in numerals. It might be.

3. If this is a kind of coordination, then I wouldn't be too surprised by the ordering.

4. This isn't the same as syntactic modifier-head ordering. In German at least it's a kind of compound. While as a general expectation you might think the order would be the same, an exception here doesn't stand out as surprising to me. It does look like, I think, the "head"/base is "ten" and modifier is "five".

5. I know of no special term. I'd refer to it as the "units" place as opposed to "tens". But that's not a linguistic term.

6. In general, what is the order in compounds? Cross-linguistically, I believe there is a tendency for modifier-head order, actually, but you may want to check on that. So in that case, I'm not sure why this would be an exception in that sense, though it isn't the same as the syntactic system.
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Offline zaba

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Re: Compound number formation
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2014, 12:41:44 AM »
Quote
1. That looks exactly like German in a sense:

Indeed, but:
two ten = twenty
ten two-with = twelve

Quote
I wouldn't be surprised if in this language 'with' is used more generally as a noun phrase conjunction.
Nope. It uses 'and'

Quote
In general, what is the order in compounds? Cross-linguistically, I believe there is a tendency for modifier-head order, actually, but you may want to check on that. So in that case, I'm not sure why this would be an exception in that sense, though it isn't the same as the syntactic system.
Mod+Head

Quote
I know of no special term. I'd refer to it as the "units" place as opposed to "tens". But that's not a linguistic term.
There must be a term... I don't have any books on number typology... let's see what I can find online.

Offline freknu

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Re: Compound number formation
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2014, 05:33:42 AM »
If the number does not have a distinct form in this position, then I don't think it needs a name. The construct is centred on the affix, not the number.

Offline zaba

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Re: Compound number formation
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2014, 12:52:14 AM »
Quote
If the number does not have a distinct form in this position, then I don't think it needs a name. The construct is centred on the affix, not the number.

I'd like to write this sentence:

the suffix -with attaches to the _non-base element_ of the number. It's just that "non-base" doesn't have a good ring to it...

Offline freknu

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Re: Compound number formation
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2014, 04:59:59 AM »
"... the suffix [-with] attaches to the conjunctional element of the compound number ..."

It looks like a conjunctive construct so I'd find it quite descriptive to use "conjunctional element" — i.e. the element connected with a conjunction to the base element.