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Norway: Language Situation 709

stops, /b/, /d/, and /g/, such as Guinaang Bontok [f], [ts], Grimes B F & Grimes J E (eds.) (2000). Ethnologue: languages
and [ h] (Himes, 19841985), which because of the in- of the world (14th edn.). Dallas: SIL International.
fluence of English in the schools are losing their environ- Himes R S (19841985). Allophonic variation and the
mental conditioning and are now becoming separate Bontok-Kankanaey voiced stops. In Philippine Journal
of Linguistics. 1516, 4956.
phonemes in the languages (Reid, 2005).
Himes R S (1998). The southern Cordilleran group
Published text resources are available on a number
of Philippine languages. Oceanic Linguistics 37(1),
of Cordilleran languages. Moreover, one of the finest 120177.
dictionaries of a Philippine language is that of the Newell L E (1993). Batad Ifugao dictionary with ethnographic
central Cordilleran language Ifugao (Newell, 1993). notes. Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines.
Reid L A (1974). The central Cordilleran subgroup of
Philippine languages. Oceanic Linguistics 13, 511560.
See also: Austronesian Languages: Overview; Ergativity; Reid L A (1979). Towards a reconstruction of the pronominal
Kapampangan; Malayo-Polynesian Languages; Philip- systems of Proto-Cordilleran, Philippines. In Nguyen D L
pines: Language Situation; Tagalog. (ed.) Southeast Asian linguistic studies 3. Canberra: Re-
search School of Pacific Studies, Department of Linguistics,
Australian National University. 259275.
Bibliography Reid L A (1987). The early switch hypothesis: linguistic
evidence for contact between Negritos and Austronesians.
Barlaan R R (1999). Aspects of focus in Isnag. Manila: Man and Culture in Oceania 3(Special Issue), 4160.
Linguistic Society of the Philippines. Reid L A (2005). A cross-generational view of contact-
Bellwood P, Anderson A, Stevenson J & Dizon E (2003). Ar- related phenomena in a Philippine language: phonology.
chaeological and palaeoenvironmental research in Batanes In Quakenbush S & Dayag D (eds.) Sociolinguistics and
and Ilocos Norte provinces, northern Philippines. Bulletin language education in the Philippines and beyond:
of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association 23, 141161. festchscrift in honor of Ma. Lourdes S. Bautista. Manila:
Brainard S (1994). The phonology of Karao, the Philippines. Linguistic Society of the Philippines / Summer Institute of
Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. Linguistics.
Brandes C O & Scheerer O (19271928). On sandhi in the Reid L A & Liao H-C (2004). A brief syntactic typology of
Ibana g language. In Scheerer O (ed.) The Archives 6. Philippine languages. Language and Linguistics 5(2),
Manila: University of the Philippines. 542. 433490.

Norway: Language Situation


A R Linn, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK Following political independence from Denmark
2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. in 1814, several proposals for the establishment of a
native written language were put forward. The two
most vigorously pursued were the work of Ivar Aasen
Norwegian is a North Germanic language, spoken by (18131896) on the one hand and Knud Knudsen
around 4.5 million inhabitants of Norway and a small (18121895) on the other. Aasen, with the backing of
number of speakers elsewhere, principally emigrant the State, created a new written language based on ex-
workers in other Scandinavian countries and the tensive and pioneering dialect fieldwork, and Knudsen
United States, although Ethnologue also notes groups pursued a policy of Norwegianization of the inherited
of speakers in Canada, Ecuador, and the United Arab Danish. Both policies had their opponents, but in 1885
Emirates. The spoken language is characterized the two varieties were placed on an equal footing by
by rich dialectal variation, resulting historically Parliament, leading to the written standards initially
from small groups of speakers spread across a large known as Landsmaal and Riksmaal, respectively, but
area with poor internal communications. Systematic renamed Nynorsk and Bokma l in 1929. Norwegian
dialectology has been a fertile branch of linguistic language politics in the first half of the 20th century
enquiry in Norway since the second half of the 19th were characterized by a series of official reforms in-
century. Dialectal variation is a feature of all social tended to bring the two varieties closer together. The
groups and is relatively little stigmatized. The reforms of 1917 and 1938 in particular were under-
written language situation is more complex, and writ- pinned by the ultimate goal of creating one common
ten Norwegian provides the classical example of lan- Norwegian, Samnorsk. This policy was never popular,
guage planning. and protests were especially vehement in the 1950s,
Norway: Language Situation 709

stops, /b/, /d/, and /g/, such as Guinaang Bontok [f], [ts], Grimes B F & Grimes J E (eds.) (2000). Ethnologue: languages
and [ h] (Himes, 19841985), which because of the in- of the world (14th edn.). Dallas: SIL International.
fluence of English in the schools are losing their environ- Himes R S (19841985). Allophonic variation and the
mental conditioning and are now becoming separate Bontok-Kankanaey voiced stops. In Philippine Journal
of Linguistics. 1516, 4956.
phonemes in the languages (Reid, 2005).
Himes R S (1998). The southern Cordilleran group
Published text resources are available on a number
of Philippine languages. Oceanic Linguistics 37(1),
of Cordilleran languages. Moreover, one of the finest 120177.
dictionaries of a Philippine language is that of the Newell L E (1993). Batad Ifugao dictionary with ethnographic
central Cordilleran language Ifugao (Newell, 1993). notes. Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines.
Reid L A (1974). The central Cordilleran subgroup of
Philippine languages. Oceanic Linguistics 13, 511560.
See also: Austronesian Languages: Overview; Ergativity; Reid L A (1979). Towards a reconstruction of the pronominal
Kapampangan; Malayo-Polynesian Languages; Philip- systems of Proto-Cordilleran, Philippines. In Nguyen D L
pines: Language Situation; Tagalog. (ed.) Southeast Asian linguistic studies 3. Canberra: Re-
search School of Pacific Studies, Department of Linguistics,
Australian National University. 259275.
Bibliography Reid L A (1987). The early switch hypothesis: linguistic
evidence for contact between Negritos and Austronesians.
Barlaan R R (1999). Aspects of focus in Isnag. Manila: Man and Culture in Oceania 3(Special Issue), 4160.
Linguistic Society of the Philippines. Reid L A (2005). A cross-generational view of contact-
Bellwood P, Anderson A, Stevenson J & Dizon E (2003). Ar- related phenomena in a Philippine language: phonology.
chaeological and palaeoenvironmental research in Batanes In Quakenbush S & Dayag D (eds.) Sociolinguistics and
and Ilocos Norte provinces, northern Philippines. Bulletin language education in the Philippines and beyond:
of the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association 23, 141161. festchscrift in honor of Ma. Lourdes S. Bautista. Manila:
Brainard S (1994). The phonology of Karao, the Philippines. Linguistic Society of the Philippines / Summer Institute of
Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. Linguistics.
Brandes C O & Scheerer O (19271928). On sandhi in the Reid L A & Liao H-C (2004). A brief syntactic typology of
Ibanag language. In Scheerer O (ed.) The Archives 6. Philippine languages. Language and Linguistics 5(2),
Manila: University of the Philippines. 542. 433490.

Norway: Language Situation


A R Linn, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK Following political independence from Denmark
2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. in 1814, several proposals for the establishment of a
native written language were put forward. The two
most vigorously pursued were the work of Ivar Aasen
Norwegian is a North Germanic language, spoken by (18131896) on the one hand and Knud Knudsen
around 4.5 million inhabitants of Norway and a small (18121895) on the other. Aasen, with the backing of
number of speakers elsewhere, principally emigrant the State, created a new written language based on ex-
workers in other Scandinavian countries and the tensive and pioneering dialect fieldwork, and Knudsen
United States, although Ethnologue also notes groups pursued a policy of Norwegianization of the inherited
of speakers in Canada, Ecuador, and the United Arab Danish. Both policies had their opponents, but in 1885
Emirates. The spoken language is characterized the two varieties were placed on an equal footing by
by rich dialectal variation, resulting historically Parliament, leading to the written standards initially
from small groups of speakers spread across a large known as Landsmaal and Riksmaal, respectively, but
area with poor internal communications. Systematic renamed Nynorsk and Bokmal in 1929. Norwegian
dialectology has been a fertile branch of linguistic language politics in the first half of the 20th century
enquiry in Norway since the second half of the 19th were characterized by a series of official reforms in-
century. Dialectal variation is a feature of all social tended to bring the two varieties closer together. The
groups and is relatively little stigmatized. The reforms of 1917 and 1938 in particular were under-
written language situation is more complex, and writ- pinned by the ultimate goal of creating one common
ten Norwegian provides the classical example of lan- Norwegian, Samnorsk. This policy was never popular,
guage planning. and protests were especially vehement in the 1950s,
710 Norway: Language Situation

when the policy was being most actively pursued. See also: Aasen, Ivar Andreas (18131896); Danish; Ger-
Since the 1960s a series of developments has led to manic Languages; Norwegian.
a gradual stalling of this policy, and in 2002 it was
abandoned. Policy is now to leave the two varieties to Language Maps (Appendix 1): Map 136.
develop in their own way, and while the Language
Council has been disbanded, a new language agency is Bibliography
to be set up in its place, although its role and powers Bra tveit K, Jones W G & Gade K (1995). Colloquial
are, at the time of writing, unclear. Norwegian: a complete language course. London &
The majority of Norwegians use a moderately con- New York: Routledge.
servative form of Bokma l in writing, a variety that Haugen E (1966). Language conflict and language planning:
opponents of the reform process identify as Riksma l the case of modern Norwegian. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
to distinguish it from the more radically engineered University Press.
Bokma l. Riksma l has its own dictionary and an influ- Haugen E (1976). The Scandinavian languages. London:
ential pressure group, The Norwegian Academy for Faber & Faber.
Jahr E-H (1989). Utsyn over norsk sprakhistorie etter 1814.
Language and Literature. Advocates of a more conser-
Oslo: Novus forlag.
vative variety of Nynorsk, closer to the form original-
Linn A (1997). Constructing the grammars of a language:
ly proposed by Aasen, identify and champion another Ivar Aasen and 19th-century Norwegian linguistics.
variety still, known as Hgnorsk. This has no official Mu nster: Nodus Publikationen.
status, and its pressure groups are, at the time of Strandskogen A -B & Strandskogen R (1986). Norwegian:
writing, in some disarray. an essential grammar. London & New York: Routledge.

Norwegian
T A Afarli, Norwegian University of Science and The two written standards have their background
Technology, Trondheim, Norway in the history of Norway. From 1380 to 1814,
2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Norway was in a political union with Denmark, and
Danish was used as a written language. Eventually,
during the flourishing of nationalism after 1814, a
Dano-Norwegian written standard was developed in
Sociohistorical Setting
the 19th century, bringing Norwegian elements into
Norwegian together with Danish and Swedish consti- the Danish language. This standard gradually evolved
tute the Mainland Scandinavian languages, which, into present-day Bokma l. Also, in the 19th century, a
together with the Insular Scandinavian languages, more radical approach was followed by Ivar Aasen
Faroese and Icelandic, constitute the Scandinavian (18131896). He developed a written standard based
languages. The Scandinavian languages belong to on the spoken dialects. This standard gradually
the Germanic family of the Indo-European languages. evolved into present-day Nynorsk.
Norwegian is exceptional in having two officially Today, Bokma l and Nynorsk are quite similar, but
recognized written standards. These are called Bokmal there are still certain spelling differences both regard-
book language and Nynorsk New Norwegian. Bok- ing content words and grammatical morphology. In
mal is used by more than 80% of the population, where- the description of Norwegian below, I will concen-
as Nynorsk is used by less than 20%, mainly in the area trate on the common structural features of the spoken
stretching from the interior of southern Norway to the language as a whole. All examples are written in the
western coast. As for the spoken language, there is a rich Nynorsk standard unless otherwise stated.
variety of dialects, although all of them are mutually
intelligible. The use of (nonstandard) dialects is widely
accepted, even in more formal contexts. There is no
Morphology and Phonology
officially recognized standard for the spoken language.
It is important to note that Bokmal and Nynorsk Finite verbs in Norwegian only show tense distinctions
are written standards that individuals choose largely (past, present). There are two nonfinite verb forms, the
irrespective of which dialectal variety they speak. infinitive and the past participle, and an adjectival
710 Norway: Language Situation

when the policy was being most actively pursued. See also: Aasen, Ivar Andreas (18131896); Danish; Ger-
Since the 1960s a series of developments has led to manic Languages; Norwegian.
a gradual stalling of this policy, and in 2002 it was
abandoned. Policy is now to leave the two varieties to Language Maps (Appendix 1): Map 136.
develop in their own way, and while the Language
Council has been disbanded, a new language agency is Bibliography
to be set up in its place, although its role and powers Bratveit K, Jones W G & Gade K (1995). Colloquial
are, at the time of writing, unclear. Norwegian: a complete language course. London &
The majority of Norwegians use a moderately con- New York: Routledge.
servative form of Bokmal in writing, a variety that Haugen E (1966). Language conflict and language planning:
opponents of the reform process identify as Riksmal the case of modern Norwegian. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
to distinguish it from the more radically engineered University Press.
Bokmal. Riksmal has its own dictionary and an influ- Haugen E (1976). The Scandinavian languages. London:
ential pressure group, The Norwegian Academy for Faber & Faber.
Jahr E-H (1989). Utsyn over norsk sprakhistorie etter 1814.
Language and Literature. Advocates of a more conser-
Oslo: Novus forlag.
vative variety of Nynorsk, closer to the form original-
Linn A (1997). Constructing the grammars of a language:
ly proposed by Aasen, identify and champion another Ivar Aasen and 19th-century Norwegian linguistics.
variety still, known as Hgnorsk. This has no official Munster: Nodus Publikationen.
status, and its pressure groups are, at the time of Strandskogen A-B & Strandskogen R (1986). Norwegian:
writing, in some disarray. an essential grammar. London & New York: Routledge.

Norwegian
T A Afarli, Norwegian University of Science and The two written standards have their background
Technology, Trondheim, Norway in the history of Norway. From 1380 to 1814,
2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Norway was in a political union with Denmark, and
Danish was used as a written language. Eventually,
during the flourishing of nationalism after 1814, a
Dano-Norwegian written standard was developed in
Sociohistorical Setting
the 19th century, bringing Norwegian elements into
Norwegian together with Danish and Swedish consti- the Danish language. This standard gradually evolved
tute the Mainland Scandinavian languages, which, into present-day Bokmal. Also, in the 19th century, a
together with the Insular Scandinavian languages, more radical approach was followed by Ivar Aasen
Faroese and Icelandic, constitute the Scandinavian (18131896). He developed a written standard based
languages. The Scandinavian languages belong to on the spoken dialects. This standard gradually
the Germanic family of the Indo-European languages. evolved into present-day Nynorsk.
Norwegian is exceptional in having two officially Today, Bokmal and Nynorsk are quite similar, but
recognized written standards. These are called Bokmal there are still certain spelling differences both regard-
book language and Nynorsk New Norwegian. Bok- ing content words and grammatical morphology. In
mal is used by more than 80% of the population, where- the description of Norwegian below, I will concen-
as Nynorsk is used by less than 20%, mainly in the area trate on the common structural features of the spoken
stretching from the interior of southern Norway to the language as a whole. All examples are written in the
western coast. As for the spoken language, there is a rich Nynorsk standard unless otherwise stated.
variety of dialects, although all of them are mutually
intelligible. The use of (nonstandard) dialects is widely
accepted, even in more formal contexts. There is no
Morphology and Phonology
officially recognized standard for the spoken language.
It is important to note that Bokmal and Nynorsk Finite verbs in Norwegian only show tense distinctions
are written standards that individuals choose largely (past, present). There are two nonfinite verb forms, the
irrespective of which dialectal variety they speak. infinitive and the past participle, and an adjectival
Norwegian 711

present participle form. Example (1) shows the inflec- verb, compare (4) to the embedded clause in eg veit at
tional paradigm for the weak verb kjpe buy. mannen aldri har kjpt geiter pa ein sndag I know
that the man has never bought goats on a Sunday.
(1) kjpe (infinitive) - kjper (present) - kjpte (past)
Norwegian has a strict subject requirement in finite
- kjpt (past participle)
clauses. If there is no semantic subject, an expletive
Nouns have no productive case distinctions. How- subject must be inserted.
ever, they inflect for number (singular, plural) and
(5a) Det regnar.
definiteness (definite, indefinite), and there are
It rains.
three genders (masculine, feminine, neuter). Example
(2) shows the paradigm for the feminine noun geit (5b) Det sta r ei flaske pa bordet.
goat. it stands a bottle on table-the
There is a bottle standing on the table.
(2) sg pl
indef geit goat geiter goats In most dialects, det it is used as expletive subject in
def geita the goat geitene the goats both meteorological (5a) and presentational (5b) sen-
tences. Some dialects allow der there as an expletive
As shown, definiteness is marked inflectionally as a subject in addition to det it.
suffix (-ene is a portmanteau morph expressing both Norwegian has two main types of passive, namely
definiteness and plurality). There is also a free-form periphrastic passive and reflexive (s-) passive. Exam-
indefinite article, varying according to gender; ei is ple (6b) is written in the Bokma l standard.
the feminine form, as in ei geit a goat.
Adjectives show agreement in gender (m/f and n) (6a) Geita blir kjpt (av mannen) i dag.
and number (sg, pl) in predicative and attributive goat-the becomes bought (by man-the) to day
positions. The goat is bought by the man today.
As for phonological properties, Norwegian dia- (6b) Geita kjpes (av mannen) i dag.
lects have relatively rich vowel and consonant sys- goat-the buy-s (by man-the) to day
tems. Also, Norwegian dialects make extensive use The goat is bought by the man today.
of diphthongs. In most dialects, tones may have Both types allow impersonal passive, as e.g., in det
distinctive function. blir kjpt ei geit i dag there is bought a goat today.
Syntax There are two main types of interrogative clauses:
yes/no questions (formed by placing the finite verb in
Norwegian is a SVO language with fixed word order, initial position) and questions with a question word
cf. (3). (with the question word placed in initial position).
(3) Mannen kjper geita. As for relative clauses, the most common type is intro-
The man buys the goat. duced by the complementizer som. The complementi-
zer is optional if the relativized position is a
Norwegian is also a verb second (V2) language, with nonsubject, as in geita (som) mannen kjpte the goat
the finite verb in second position in main declarative (that) the man bought. Infinitival clauses are intro-
clauses. Thus, topicalization of the direct object in (1) duced by the infinitive marker a to, as in mannen
yields geita kjper mannen the goat the man buys prver a kjpe geita the man tries to buy the goat.
with the finite verb in the V2 position.
Auxiliary verbs are positioned between the subject
See also: Aasen, Ivar Andreas (18131896); Danish; Inflec-
and the main verb, as in mannen har kjpt geita the
tion and Derivation; Language/Dialect Contact; Language
man has bought the goat. Finite auxiliary verbs fol- and Dialect: Linguistic Varieties; Morphological Typology;
low the V2 pattern, cf. geita har mannen kjpt the Norse and Icelandic; Norway: Language Situation; Scan-
goat the man has bought. dinavian Lexicography; Subjects and the Extended Pro-
Adverbials are positioned in the middle field (sen- jection Principle; Swedish.
tence adverbials) or toward the end of the clause
(predicate adverbials).
Bibliography
(4) Mannen har aldri kjpt geiter pa ein sndag.
The man has never bought goats on a Sunday. Askedal J O (1994). Norwegian. In Ko nig E & van der
Auwera J (eds.) The Germanic langugaes. London:
Like other V2 languages, Norwegian shows an asym- Routledge. 219270.
metry between main and embedded clauses as to the Faarlund J T, Lie S & Vannebo K I (1997). Norsk referanse-
relative distribution of sentence adverbial and finite grammatikk. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.
712 Noun Phrases

Noun Phrases
J R Payne nouns (e.g., the Hague, the Netherlands) require the
2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. use of the article.
Opposed to proper nouns are common nouns, for
This article is reproduced from the previous edition, volume 5, which a distinction between definite and indefinite
pp. 28482855, 1994, Elsevier Ltd. reference is possible. In indefinite reference, the speaker
does not indicate to the hearer that the hearer will
necessarily be able to locate a mutually manifest set
The term noun is used to describe the class of lexical in which the referent can be found. Indefinite refer-
items whose prototypical members refer to entities ence is therefore either used when some new entity
(chair, film, leg), substances (butter, concrete, blood), or substance is being introduced into the discourse
and named individuals or locations (John, Paris, (Yesterday I saw a film in which Meryl Streep played
France). Traditionally, the term noun phrase has then a New York psychiatrist), or, if a set mutually manifest
been used to describe any phrase consisting of a noun to both speaker and hearer can be found, to indicate
as its central constituent (or head) and capable of that the referent is not unique within that set. In the
functioning as an argument (e.g., subject or object) in sentence John lost a leg in the war, a set of two
a sentence. Examples, in which the head nouns are legs belonging to John may be mutually manifest to
in bold type, are: my big red chair, the butter on the speaker and hearer, but if only one leg has been lost,
table; John, who is a lion-tamer. The structure of noun indefinite reference is forced (see Hawkins, 1991).
phrases, which in many respects appears to be as In languages which distinguish between definite
complex as the structure of sentences, has become a and indefinite articles, common nouns are able to oc-
controversial issue. While some linguists maintain that cur with both. English has definite article the and
noun phrases are headed by nouns, others insist that indefinite articles a and some, giving a contrast be-
the head of a noun phrase should be the determiner tween the film and a film, and the butter and some
(e.g., the definite article the in the butter on the table). butter. With proper nouns, on the other hand, the use
According to these theorists, noun phrases should of contrasting definite and indefinite articles involves
really be called determiner phrases. special interpretations: I met a John at the party, but
I dont think its the person you mean; The John that
Nouns I met at the party isnt present today. In this case, it can
be said that John has been reclassified as a common
Nouns can be divided into a number of important noun meaning something like person named John.
subclasses based on their grammatical and semantic
properties. These subclasses relate to definiteness, Person
person, number, and gender, and they play a major Distinctions of person are typically carried by a spe-
role in determining what categories can cooccur with cial class of nouns called personal pronouns, for ex-
a given noun in a noun phrase. ample, I (first person singular), you (second person
singular), he/she/it (third person singular), and they
Definiteness
(third person plural) in English. These are similar to
One subclass of nouns, the subclass of proper nouns proper nouns in that they have definite reference, and
whose prototypical members refer to named indivi- do not cooccur with the definite article: *the you.
duals or locations, contains nouns whose reference is Common nouns are neutral with respect to person.
exclusively definite (i.e., when the speaker uses such a When nouns are used with standard determiners such
noun, he or she indicates that the hearer will be able as the articles or demonstratives, the noun phrase is
to identify the proposed referent by locating some usually interpreted as having third-person reference,
mutually manifest set which consists uniquely of the but, as pointed out by Postal (1966), common nouns
named individual or location). In some languages, can also be combined in English with first-person
proper nouns are used in conjunction with definite plural we and second-person plural you to give noun
articles (e.g., Greek o Yanis (literally the John)), phrases such as we students and you students. We and
which gives a noun phrase whose definiteness is indi- you can therefore be analyzed as first- and second-
cated both by the noun and by the article. In other person person determiners in English, rather than as
languages, this redundancy may be avoided and a personal pronouns.
noun phrase may consist of the proper noun alone. The neutrality of common nouns with respect
The majority of proper nouns in English are of this to person is especially clear in Nama (Namibia). In
type (e.g., John, Paris, France); however, some proper Nama, all noun phrases contain a final marker
Noun Phrases 713

showing the person (as well as the number and gen- demonstratives this and that: a family, this family,
der) of the phrase. These markers are as follows (ex- that family. Equally, family has a grammatically plu-
cluding special plural forms for mixed masculine and ral form families which cooccurs with the grammati-
feminine phrases): cally plural indefinite article some and the
Masculine Feminine grammatically plural demonstratives these and
Sing Dual Pl Sing Dual Pl those: some families, these families, those families.
First person -ta -khom -ge -ta -m -se However, the grammatically singular form family
Second person -ts -kho -go -s -ro -so can be thought of as referring semantically to a set
Third person -b -kha -gu -s -ra -di consisting of its individual members, and this is
All these markers can be attached to any common reflected in the possibility of plural verb agreement:
noun, giving forms such as ao-b (man-third person All the family are coming to the wedding.
singular) or ao-khom (man-first person dual). The Conversely, in some languages it is possible to find
third-person pronoun ||i behaves like any other grammatically plural nouns which are semantically
noun, except of course that it can only be followed singular. For example, the Russian noun casy clock
by third-person markers: ||i-b he, ||i-s she, etc. In ad- is grammatically plural since it is modified by plural
dition, Nama also has determiners representing first forms of the demonstratives tot that and etot this:
and second person: te casy (that-plural clock) that clock, eti casy (this-
plural clock) this clock. Its semantic singularity is
Sing Dual/Plural shown by its ability to cooccur with the numeral odin
First person ti si one, which also has a grammatically plural form
Second person sa sa
especially for use with such nouns: odni casy (one-
These occur in initial position in first- and second- plural clock) one clock! English nouns like scissors,
person noun phrases to give forms such as si ao-khom which appear similar (e.g., those scissors, these scis-
we (two) men. sors), are grammatically plural, but noncount. One
The first- and second-person personal pronouns cannot say *one scissors, but must add the count
of Nama are formed simply by combining the rele- noun pair for the numeral to be possible: one pair of
vant determiner and noun-phrase suffix, for example, scissors.
ti-ta I, sa-kho you (dual), si-khom we (dual, ex- While count nouns typically have both gram-
cluding the hearer), sa-khom we (dual, including matically singular and grammatically plural forms in
the hearer). In this case, as for English we and you English, there are a few like remains which are only
(plural), it can be argued that no noun root as such plural (*this remains, these remains). Note that nouns
is present in the noun phrase. like sheep are count nouns with both a singular and
plural form (this sheep, these sheep): the singular
Number
and plural forms in this case just happen to be
Common nouns can be divided into those which can the same.
be counted (count nouns, like chair), and those which
Gender
cannot (noncount nouns, like butter). Count nouns
are able to cooccur with low numerals (one if they are Nouns have different genders if they fall into different
singular, and two if they are plural), for example, one agreement classes, that is, if they cooccur with differ-
chair, two chairs. The use of low numerals with non- ent agreeing forms of other categories such as noun-
count nouns leads to unacceptability, for example, phrase modifiers, predicates, or pronouns.
*one butter, *two butters, unless the noun in question In English, gender distinctions are absent from
is reclassified as a common noun with a different and noun-phrase modifiers like adjectives, articles, and
countable interpretation, for example type of butter demonstratives, and from predicates. However, rela-
or pat of butter. tive pronouns distinguish between personal nouns
Count nouns may refer to sets consisting of one en- which are referred to by who and nonpersonal
tity, or more than one entity, and this is the basis for nouns which are referred to by which, and singular
number distinctions in language such as singular and personal pronouns distinguish between masculine
plural. It is necessary, however, to distinguish be- nouns (referred to by he), feminine nouns (referred
tween grammatical and semantic number. In English, to by she), and neuter nouns (referred to by it). The
collective nouns such as family are grammatically distinction between personal and nonpersonal is
singular since they cooccur with grammatically sin- not quite the same as that between human and non-
gular forms of noun-phrase modifiers such as human, since familiar animals such as pets can be
the singular indefinite article a and the singular referred to by who, and unfamiliar babies can
714 Noun Phrases

be referred to by which. Nor is it the same as the noun phrases, adpositions and adpositional phrases,
distinction between animate and inanimate, since and clauses.
both animate nouns like sheep and inanimate nouns
like box are referred to by which. Determiners
This then gives essentially the following gender
classes in English: Determiners form a closed class of functional words
which have the general property of not themselves
(a) personal masculine nouns (who/he): uncle permitting modification. The class of determiners in-
(b) personal feminine nouns (who/she): aunt cludes articles, personal determiners, demonstratives,
(c) nonpersonal neuter nouns (which/it): box interrogative determiners, exclamatory determiners,
(d) nonpersonal feminine nouns (which/she): ship
and quality determiners.
Some nouns belong to more than one class. For ex-
ample, doctor can be both personal masculine and Articles Articles have the function of simply indicat-
personal feminine; ship can be nonpersonal neuter ing definite or indefinite reference, without contain-
as well as nonpersonal feminine. In the plural, the ing any identification within themselves of the place
distinction between masculine, feminine, and neuter where the referent(s) can be located. The English
is neutralized (the personal pronoun is always they, articles are definite the and indefinite a or some. In
and the only gender distinction which is preserved is indefinite reference, a is used with singular count
between personal and nonpersonal). nouns, and some with noncount and/or plural nouns.
In some languages, meaning alone suffices to deter- Examples are: the film, the butter, the films, a film,
mine distinctions of gender (English is basically of some butter, some films. Many languages lack articles
this type). In other languages, however, information altogether (e.g., Russian, Lithuanian).
about the form of the noun (e.g., declension class,
phonological form) is also required. In Russian, for Personal Determiners Personal determiners are de-
example, nouns fall into a few major declensional terminers which indicate the person of a noun phrase.
classes, each of which is associated with a particular In English, the personal determiners are we and you
gender: dom (first declension) house is masculine, (plural), which can cooccur with grammatically plu-
ruka (second declension) arm, hand is feminine, ral common nouns. Examples are: we students, you
skorost (third declension) speed is feminine, and students. Nama (see Person) has both singular and
okno (fourth declension) window is neuter. This may plural first- and second-person determiners. Since per-
lead, as with number, to discrepancies between gram- sonal determiners invariably seem to indicate defi-
matical and semantic characteristics of particular niteness, it might be argued that they are simply
nouns. For example, the Russian noun djadja uncle first- and second-person forms of the definite article.
belongs to the second declension class, but in this However, the definite article in English does not nec-
case the semantic characteristic takes precedence and essarily imply third-person reference: for example,
agreeing forms are invariably masculine (e.g., moj in an appositional construction like we, the students,
djadja (my-masculine uncle) my uncle). The noun the first-person personal determiner and the definite
vrac doctor belongs to the first declension, but when article can cooccur. It seems better to treat the usual
referring to a female doctor may be used with either interpretation of third-person reference induced by
masculine or feminine agreeing forms. In this case, the definite article as an implicature which can be
feminine agreeing forms are more likely with pro- canceled if the context requires it.
nouns and predicates than with noun-phrase modifiers
like adjectives (Corbett, 1991). The similarity with the Demonstratives Demonstratives serve generally to
number agreement of collective nouns in English is indicate the location of the intended referent(s) of
striking, since here, too, semantic agreement is found the noun phrase with respect to the context of utter-
with pronouns and predicates. ance. English demonstratives are this/these and that/
those, which cooccur with common nouns and have a
distinction of grammatical number. Examples are:
Noun-Phrase Modifiers
this box, these boxes, that box, those boxes. The dis-
Noun phrases are traditionally thought of as consist- tinction between this/these and that/those is one of
ing minimally of a head noun, together with any num- closeness to and distance from the speaker. In some
ber of noun-phrase modifiers. Typical noun-phrase languages, further distinctions based on closeness to
modifiers are determiners, quantifiers and quantifier and distance from the hearer can also be found, as
phrases, adjectives and adjective phrases, nouns and well as more recondite distinctions based on visibility
Noun Phrases 715

and topological factors such as uphill and down- possible to form quantifier phrases: virtually all the
hill, upriver and downriver. For example, Dyirbal boxes, not nearly enough boxes, indescribably few
(Australia) has basic forms giyi (meaning that the boxes, absolutely no boxes, almost two boxes.
referent is visible and here), bayi (meaning that
the referent is visible and there), and nayi (meaning Adjectives and Adjective Phrases
that the referent is not visible). To any basic form can
be suffixed one of a set of twelve morphemes indi- Adjectives and adjective phrases are noun-phrase
cating distance uphill or downhill, distance upriver modifiers par excellence. As well as general adjectives
or downriver, and/or one of a set of three morphemes like red, large, round, and brave, the class of adjec-
indicating up (vertically), down (vertically), or out tives in English includes ordinal numerals such as first
in front (with respect to which way either speaker and second, related adjectives such as next and last,
or hearer is facing; Dixon, 1972). It should be adjectives such as same and other, and arguably the
noted that demonstratives may indicate definiteness, whole class of quantifiers (see Determiners).
as in English, or may be neutral with respect to In some languages, the class of adjectives may be
definiteness, as in Dyirbal. extended to include possessive adjectives, for exam-
ple, Italian mia in la mia casa (the my-feminine singu-
lar house-feminine singular) my house, and in others,
Interrogative Determiners Interrogative determiners
according to Dixon (1977), it may be severely reduced
are forms like which and what in English. Examples
or nonexistent (the concepts being expressed by forms
are: which box?, what box?
which can be classified as nouns or verbs).
Adjectives in English are generally positioned be-
Exclamatory Determiners Exclamatory determiners
tween determiners and the head noun, for example,
are forms like what in English. Examples are: what a that first brave attempt, a large red apple. While there
fool!, what fools! Note that the exclamatory deter-
is a certain natural ordering relationship between the
miner what, unlike the interrogative determiner what,
adjectives themselves, orders which deviate from this
must cooccur with the indefinite determiner a when
ordering are typically possible: that brave first at-
determining a singular count noun.
tempt, a red large apple. Even quantifiers, which in
English typically occupy positions close to (or in com-
Quality Determiners Quality determiners are forms
plementary distribution with) the determiners, may
like such in English. Examples are: such a fool,
occur in differing orders with ordinary adjectives:
such fools. Like the exclamatory determiner what, those two first brave attempts, those first two brave
this form requires the indefinite determiner a when
attempts, those brave two first attempts.
determining a singular count noun.
Adjective phrases in English may be formed by
premodification of the adjective by adverbs, or post-
Quantifiers and Quantifier Phrases modification by prepositional phrases and clauses:
Quantifiers have the general function of indicating very proud, proud of her achievements, proud that
the quantity of elements referred to by the noun she had won so easily. The type of modification has
phrase. Unlike determiners, they permit various an influence on the order of noun head and adjective-
kinds of modification and therefore have their own phrase modifier within the noun phrase. Only pre-
phrasal structure. modified adjective phrases pattern with single adjec-
In many cases, quantifiers permit the same kinds of tives in occurring before the head noun: a very proud
modification as adjectives, and might therefore be woman. Postmodified adjective phrases must occur
treated as a special subclass of adjectives. The quanti- after the head: a woman proud of her achievements, a
fier many in English, for example, permits premodifi- woman proud that she had won so easily.
cation by the adverb very (e.g., very many boxes), and
Nouns and Noun Phrases
has comparative and superlative forms (more boxes,
most boxes). Nouns themselves may act as noun-phrase premodi-
Typical quantifiers in English are: all, both, half, fiers. For example, it can be argued that, in English
every, each, any, either, some, much, enough, several, noun phrases like a plastic factory, the item plastic is
many (more, most), a few, few (fewer, fewest), a a noun rather than an adjective. The evidence for this
little, little (less, least), neither, no, together with the is that plastic can itself be modified by an adjective
cardinal numerals one, two, three, etc. Examples are: such as corrugated to give a corrugated plastic fac-
all the boxes, enough boxes, few boxes, no boxes, tory ( a factory which makes corrugated plastic).
two boxes. With modification of the quantifier, it is Adjectives themselves do not permit modification by
716 Noun Phrases

adjectives, so there is no alternative but to consider (c) the Eskimos who(m) you met
plastic as a noun. the Eskimos that you met
It should be noted that noun-phrase modifiers the Eskimos you met
of this type cannot contain determiners, although The relative clause who live in igloos in (a) is non-
they may contain quantifiers: a party committee, restrictive, in that it provides additional information
*a that party committee, a two-party committee, an about the referents of a noun phrase, the Eskimos,
all-party committee. whose identity has already been established. By con-
trast, the relative clauses in (b) and (c) are restrictive,
Adpositions and Adpositional Phrases in that the information contained in the relative
clause serves to restrict the intended referents to
Adpositions are prepositions or postpositions, typi-
those who satisfy the condition expressed in the rela-
cally taking noun-phrase complements. Prepositional
tive clause. For example, the relative clauses in (b)
phrases are a common form of noun-phrase postmo-
restrict the reference to a subset of the set of Eskimos,
difier in English: the man on the roof, a box without a
those who happen to live in igloos.
lid, the room underneath the eaves. Some preposi-
Nonrestrictive relative clauses in English always
tions can occur alone as postmodifiers: the room
begin with a wh-phrase containing a wh-word
underneath.
like who or which. Restrictive clauses may, however,
On the other hand, postpositional phrases in
begin with a wh-phrase, or the subordinating conjunc-
English with the genitive postposition -s are pre-
tion that, or zero (symbolized by ). Zero, however, is
modifiers with a variety of functions including the
not permitted when the position relativized (the
possessor function (the kings crown), the subject
position in the relative clause which represents
function (the kings decree that windows should be
the role played by the intended referents) is the sub-
taxed), the object function (the kings execution), and
ject position as in (b), rather than the object position
the descriptive function (a womens hall of residence).
as in (c).
Phrases of the first three types in English induce the
The relative clauses in (a), (b), and (c) are based on
so-called definiteness effect, that is, the kings crown
the finite verb forms live and met. However, in many
means the unique crown belonging to the king, and
languages, relative clauses are essentially based on
not a crown belonging to the king. In order to ex-
nonfinite verb forms, for example, Turkish John un
press the indefinite meaning, the double genitive is
Mary-ye ver-dig-i patates (John-genitive Mary-dative
used in which the preposition of governs a postposi-
give-participle-his potato) the potato John gave to
tional phrase with -s: a crown of the kings.
Mary (Keenan, 1975). Here, the position relativized
While phrases of the first three types are in comple-
is the object position. Such relative clauses may be
mentary distribution in English with the determiners
called participial relative clauses. The closest En-
(i.e., Edwards richly jewelled crown and not *that
glish equivalents are clauses like living in igloos in
Edwards richly jewelled crown), this is not universal-
the noun phrase all Eskimos living in igloos. Howev-
ly the case. In Finnish, for example, the premodifying
er, in English participial relative clauses, the position
possessor and demonstrative are compatible: nuo
relativized is restricted to the subject position, and a
Aimon koirat (those Aimo-genitive dogs) those dogs
full finite relative clause must be used when the posi-
of Aimos. There therefore seems to be no general
tion relativized is the object or any other sentential
basis for considering premodifying possessor, subject,
function.
and object phrases as themselves determiners.
Complement clauses, unlike relative clauses, do not
Descriptive genitive phrases of the fourth type
contain a position relativized. Rather, the clause
have an entirely different distribution. They are com-
represents the propositional content of a thought or
patible with all the determiners and typically occur
utterance expressed by abstract nouns like belief,
close to the head noun, after any adjective phrases: a
statement, rumour, etc. Examples are: the belief that
very pleasant womens hall of residence.
linguistics is easy, the statement that the pound
Clauses would not be devalued, the rumour that the prime
minister would resign.
Clause modifiers can be divided into two major types:
relative clauses, and complement clauses. Noun-Phrase Structure
Examples of relative clauses in English are:
Configurational versus Appositional Structures
(a) the Eskimos, who live in igloos
(b) the Eskimos who live in igloos There is considerable evidence that the structure of
the Eskimos that live in igloos noun phrases in English is configurational, that is,
Noun Phrases 717

Figure 2

unit, they may also be split and placed in different


clause positions according to principles of informa-
Figure 1 Q Quantifier, D Determiner, A Adjective, PP tional structure.
Postpositional or Prepositional Phrase, N Noun, S Relative
Clause. The X-bar Framework

One very influential framework for labeling the con-


that the structure of a noun phrase like all those five stituent structures of hierarchical noun phrases is the
pleasant womens halls of residence which are de- X-bar framework introduced by Chomsky (1970) in
scribed in the University prospectus can be described order to capture the kind of similarity between the
by a hierarchical constituent structure as in Figure 1. structure of sentences and noun phrases which is
For example, to give just one argument for one aspect seen most clearly in nominalization, the formation of
of the structure in Figure 1, the circled node can act nouns from verbs. According to Chomsky, the noun
as the shared node in shared constituent coordina- phrase Euclids proof of the theorem is similar in
tion: all those five and all these three pleasant structure to the sentence Euclid proved the theorem:
womens halls of residence which are described in the like the verb prove, the noun proof takes a subject
University prospectus. (Euclid) and a complement (the theorem), the main
By contrast, the structure of noun phrases in many differences between the two structures (the introduc-
languages can clearly be appositional, with little or no tion of the adpositions -s and of ) being related to the
hierarchical structure. In Nama, for example, a noun choice of a nominal rather than a verbal head.
phrase like [6kini]-di [ne !nona]-di [!Gombates di]-di In one early version of the X-bar theory (see
([book]-third person feminine plural [these three]- Jackendoff, 1977 for discussion), the verb is taken
third person feminine plural [!Gombate of]-third to be the head of a sentence, and the parallel be-
person feminine plural) these three books of !Gom- tween sentence and noun phrase emerges very clearly
bates can be considered as consisting of three minia- (Figure 3). The maximal (phrasal) level of any cate-
ture noun phrases in apposition, each marked as third gory is taken to be X00 (where X represents any word-
person feminine plural by the postposition of -di and level category N(oun), V(erb), P(reposition), or
each capable of occurring in isolation. The flavor of A(djective)). N00 is therefore equivalent to noun
the construction is captured by an English version phrase, P00 to prepositional phrase, A00 to adjectival
like: books, these three, the ones of !Gombate. The phrase, and V00 is equivalent to sentence. Comple-
whole construction, however, forms a single phrase to ments are placed as sisters of an intermediate level
which a case-assigning postposition may be attached node X0 , and subjects (treated invariantly as N00 de-
(Figure 2). spite the presence of the adposition-s in the noun
In Nama, an alternative method of constructing phrase subject) are placed in the so-called specifier
noun phrases is hierarchical, and in this case the position as daughters of N00 or V00. The parallelism is
modifiers are always unmarked for person, number, however spoilt in this early version only by the pres-
and gender, and always precede rather than follow ence of a tense node T in the sentence, and the fact
the head noun. A similar distinction between frac- that in noun phrases the specifier position may be
tured and nonfractured phrases has been reported occupied by a determiner node D, capturing the com-
in the Australian language Gooniyandi (McGregor, plementary distribution between -s genitive phrases
1989). In Gooniyandi, however, the elements of a and determiners which holds in English (Figure 4).
fractured phrase are each independently marked for In the model of the noun phrase expressed by
case, and while they may form a single appositional Figures 3 and 4, the N0 node is recursive and permits
718 Noun Phrases

Figure 4

Figure 3

the addition of any number of additional modifiers


such as adjective phrases, prepositional phrases, and
relative clauses. A noun phrase such as those difficult
proofs of the theorem from Euclid which are set out in
our textbook would have the structure in Figure 5.
Structures like Figure 5 seem fairly successful in
capturing the structure of complex noun phrases. Figure 5
However, there are some potential problems. First,
there are elements which occur higher in the structure
and do not seem to be well catered for: for example,
the quantifiers all, both, and half, which in English and all modifiers, without exception, would be sisters
can precede the definite determiners (all the boxes), of N.
and genitive phrases in languages (e.g., Finnish and Further independent principles would then be re-
Hungarian) which allow the genitive phrase to pre- quired to account for the possible orders in which
cede the determiner rather than occur in complemen- modifiers can occur. Work on the typology of noun
tary distribution with it. Second, the distinction phrases has begun to show, however, that the relative
between complements and other kinds of modifier order of some basic types of premodifiers is extremely
seems related to the nouns ability to assign a seman- stable across the worlds languages, the order being:
tic (or thematic) role to the complement, but it is demonstrative numeral adjective head noun (see
not clear that this entails the existence of a different Rijkhoff, 1992). This suggests that, at least for these
syntactic structure for complements involving the categories of modifier when they precede the head,
existence of a distinct N0 node (for example, the ten- very general principles governing the relative applica-
dency of complements to occur closer to the noun tion of modifiers are involved.
than other modifiers could be explained by a principle
The DP Hypothesis
such as the domain adjacency condition of Travis
(1984), which requires elements assigned a thematic Discussions of noun-phrase structure which maintain
role by a head to be adjacent to that head). the noun as the head of the noun phrase have been
These issues remain to be developed thoroughly. overshadowed by the DP (determiner phrase) hy-
One possible direction in which solutions might lie pothesis, which maintains that determiners are the
is in abandoning bar structures altogether and treat- ultimate heads (Abney, 1987). A survey of the devel-
ing all modifiers as sisters of a single recursive node opment of the DP hypothesis may be found in
with no distinctions of bar level (a move proposed in Ouhalla (1991: ch. 4).
principle by, for example, Speas, 1990). In the case of A typical DP structure for the noun phrase the
noun phrases, the single node would be the node N, proof of the theorem is Figure 6 Instead of being
Noun Phrases 719

Figure 6
Figure 7 t is the trace of the D00 Euclid after movement from
specifier position in N00 , and e is the empty D node.

a modifier, the determiner the is the head of the


construction, taking an N00 proof of the theorem as
its complement. In a noun phrase like Euclids proof of
the theorem, the specifier positions of N00 and D00 can
both be exploited by assuming that Euclid originates
in the specifier position of N00 , where it can be assigned
the appropriate thematic role (agent) by the noun.
Euclid can then move to the specifier position of D00 ,
where it is assigned the genitive case (surfacing as
the -s postposition) by the empty element D Figure 7.
This structure, in which the subject and object of
the noun are originally both within N00 and movement
of the subject from within N00 up to the specifier
position of a nominal functional category D, then
parallels an analysis of sentences in which the subject
and object of the verb are originally both within V00 Figure 8 t is the trace of the D00 Euclid after movement from
specifier position in V00 , and e is the empty I node.
and movement of the subject places the subject in
the specifier position of a sentential functional cat-
egory I (which contains information about the tense the sentence (for example, the inclusion of aspect
and agreement properties of the sentence). The and negation), further functional categories will
parallelism between noun phrase and sentence emerge within the noun phrase.
originally sought by the X-bar theory is then complete While the DP hypothesis looks attractive, it too has
(see Figure 8). a number of problems (see Payne, 1993 for discus-
Work in the DP hypothesis has sought to refine the sion). For example, an analysis of the noun phrase in
analysis of the functional categories in the noun which there is a skeleton of N nodes from the phrasal
phrase by including D (determiner) and AGR (agree- to the lexical level naturally accounts for the percola-
ment) as heads, paralleling the separation of I into tion along this skeleton of morphological agreement
T (tense) and AGR (agreement) in the analysis of sen- features (e.g., case, number, gender, definiteness) in
tences. This may account for noun phrases in which languages like Russian, in which nearly all noun
nouns have markers of agreement with their genitive phrase constituents are morphologically marked. In
phrases (e.g., Turkish s u benim s apka-m (this my Figure 9, for example, the features of instrumental
hat-first person singular) this my hat. case and plural number percolate to every constituent
In addition, the node K (case) has been proposed of the noun phrase.
as the highest functional head in noun phrases which If, however, categories like case and definiteness
are marked for case, reflecting the idea that case are represented by single individual nodes K and
determines the external distribution of noun phrases. D, and these are the highest nodes in constituency
Cased noun phrases are then KP rather than DP structure trees under the DP hypothesis, the natural
or NP. It can be predicted that, parallel to the prediction is that only the highest nodes in the tree
further refinement of functional categories within will be morphologically marked for those categories.
720 Noun Phrases

Corbett G (1991). Gender. Cambridge: Cambridge Univer-


sity Press.
Dixon R M W (1972). The Dyirbal language of North
Queensland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dixon R M W (1977). Where have all the adjectives gone?
Studies in Language 1, 1980.
Hawkins J A (1991). On (in)definite articles: implicatures
and (un)grammaticality prediction. JL 27(2), 405442.
Jackendoff R (1977). Constraints on phrase structure
rules. In Culicover P W, Wasow T & Akmajian A (eds.)
Formal syntax. New York: Academic Press.
Keenan E (1975). Relative clauses. In Shopen T (ed.)
Language typology and syntactic description, vol. 2.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
McGregor W (1989). Phrase fracturing in Gooniyandi.
In Maracz L & Muysken P (eds.) Configurationality:
the typology of asymmetries. Dordrecht: Foris Publi-
cations.
Figure 9 Ouhalla J (1991). Functional categories and parametric
variation. London: Routledge.
Payne J R (1993). The headedness of noun phrases: slaying
the nominal hydra. In Corbett G, Frase N M &
See also: Articles, Definite and Indefinite; Case; Definite McGlashan S (eds.) Heads in grammatical theory.
and Indefinite; Gender; Nouns; Number; Pronouns; Word Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Classes/Parts of Speech: Overview; X-Bar Theory. Postal P (1966). On so-called pronouns in English. In
Reibel D & Schane S (eds.) Modern studies in English.
NJ: Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs.
Bibliography Rijkhoff J (1992). The noun phrase: a typological study
of its form and structure. (Dissertation, University of
Abney S P (1987). The English noun phrase in its senten- Amsterdam.)
tial aspect. Ph. D. dis., Massachusetts Institute of Speas M (1990). Phrase structure in natural language. Dor-
Technology. drecht: Kluwer Academic.
Chomsky N (1970). Remarks on nominalization. In Travis L (1984). Parameters and effects of word order
Jacobs R A & Rosenbaum P S (eds.) Readings in English variation. (Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute
transformational grammar. Waltham, MA: Ginn. of Technology.)

Nouns
M Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Stockholm University, class in most languages, even though languages vary
Stockholm, Sweden as to how pronounced their nounverb distinction is
2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (Evans, 2000; also see Word Classes/Parts of Speech:
Overview).

Prototypical nouns refer to things, persons, places,


Nominal Subcategories
and other more or less concrete objects, but the noun
class itself normally includes many more items. Nouns Nouns can be classified in various ways. It has become
always constitute an open class, even in languages usual in linguistic literature to order nouns according
that have relatively few nouns compared with the to one or another version of what has been termed
European languages, such as Iroquoian languages the animacy hierarchy or the topicality hierarchy
(Mithun, 2000). Languages have normally multiple (Comrie, 1981: 178193), the hierarchy of individua-
ways of deriving nouns, both from other word classes tion (Sasse, 1993), or the empathy hierarchy (Kuno and
by means of nominalization (see Nominalization) and Kaburaki, 1977; Lehmann and Moravcsik, 2000).
from other nouns. Nouns or their different forms can The basic idea is that these hierarchies reflect speak-
develop into words of other classes, e.g., adverbs and ers different degrees of empathy with different types
adpositions. Nouns seem to exist as a distinct word of entities and their different needs and/or abilities
720 Noun Phrases

Corbett G (1991). Gender. Cambridge: Cambridge Univer-


sity Press.
Dixon R M W (1972). The Dyirbal language of North
Queensland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dixon R M W (1977). Where have all the adjectives gone?
Studies in Language 1, 1980.
Hawkins J A (1991). On (in)definite articles: implicatures
and (un)grammaticality prediction. JL 27(2), 405442.
Jackendoff R (1977). Constraints on phrase structure
rules. In Culicover P W, Wasow T & Akmajian A (eds.)
Formal syntax. New York: Academic Press.
Keenan E (1975). Relative clauses. In Shopen T (ed.)
Language typology and syntactic description, vol. 2.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
McGregor W (1989). Phrase fracturing in Gooniyandi.
In Maracz L & Muysken P (eds.) Configurationality:
the typology of asymmetries. Dordrecht: Foris Publi-
cations.
Figure 9 Ouhalla J (1991). Functional categories and parametric
variation. London: Routledge.
Payne J R (1993). The headedness of noun phrases: slaying
the nominal hydra. In Corbett G, Frase N M &
See also: Articles, Definite and Indefinite; Case; Definite McGlashan S (eds.) Heads in grammatical theory.
and Indefinite; Gender; Nouns; Number; Pronouns; Word Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Classes/Parts of Speech: Overview; X-Bar Theory. Postal P (1966). On so-called pronouns in English. In
Reibel D & Schane S (eds.) Modern studies in English.
NJ: Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs.
Bibliography Rijkhoff J (1992). The noun phrase: a typological study
of its form and structure. (Dissertation, University of
Abney S P (1987). The English noun phrase in its senten- Amsterdam.)
tial aspect. Ph. D. dis., Massachusetts Institute of Speas M (1990). Phrase structure in natural language. Dor-
Technology. drecht: Kluwer Academic.
Chomsky N (1970). Remarks on nominalization. In Travis L (1984). Parameters and effects of word order
Jacobs R A & Rosenbaum P S (eds.) Readings in English variation. (Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute
transformational grammar. Waltham, MA: Ginn. of Technology.)

Nouns
M Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Stockholm University, class in most languages, even though languages vary
Stockholm, Sweden as to how pronounced their nounverb distinction is
2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (Evans, 2000; also see Word Classes/Parts of Speech:
Overview).

Prototypical nouns refer to things, persons, places,


Nominal Subcategories
and other more or less concrete objects, but the noun
class itself normally includes many more items. Nouns Nouns can be classified in various ways. It has become
always constitute an open class, even in languages usual in linguistic literature to order nouns according
that have relatively few nouns compared with the to one or another version of what has been termed
European languages, such as Iroquoian languages the animacy hierarchy or the topicality hierarchy
(Mithun, 2000). Languages have normally multiple (Comrie, 1981: 178193), the hierarchy of individua-
ways of deriving nouns, both from other word classes tion (Sasse, 1993), or the empathy hierarchy (Kuno and
by means of nominalization (see Nominalization) and Kaburaki, 1977; Lehmann and Moravcsik, 2000).
from other nouns. Nouns or their different forms can The basic idea is that these hierarchies reflect speak-
develop into words of other classes, e.g., adverbs and ers different degrees of empathy with different types
adpositions. Nouns seem to exist as a distinct word of entities and their different needs and/or abilities
Nouns 721

to perceive those as individuals. The common part in etc., with the indefinite article a, and with the denu-
all of them is the basic distinction humans other merating measure words many, several, etc. The mass
animates inanimate entities. The highest (left) part noun petrol cannot combine with numerals and with
of the proposed hierarchies differs; thus, an additional the indefinite article a, takes the measure word much
split may single out personal proper names and occa- instead of many, and lacks the number opposition
sionally certain kin terms. The highest positions otherwise typical of English nouns (cf. cow vs. cows
belong to pronouns for speech-act participants (first- with petrol vs. *petrols). The underlying semantic
and second-person pronouns), i.e., not nouns. Actual- difference is often described as the difference between
ly, opinions and descriptive praxis vary on whether denoting (or referring to) discrete entities with a well-
(personal) proper names should be considered a defined shape and precise limits versus homogeneous,
subclass of nouns or a category of their own. Thus, undifferentiated stuff without any certain shape or
they often have inflectional and distributional pecu- precise limits. The count/mass distinction in lan-
liarities stemming from their inherent uniqueness and guages such as English, French, or Russian shows a
definiteness, e.g., resistance to pluralization and non- strong correlation between the properties of referents
compatibility with usual articles. In a number of lan- and their proneness to be referred to by a count or a
guages, personal proper names require special proprial mass noun, more or less in accordance with the ani-
articles, distinct from those used with normal nouns. macy hierarchy. Thus, humans and animals favor a
The lower part of the hierarchies differs even more high degree of individuation and are normally coded
substantially among the different scholars. Thus, ab- by count nouns, but stuffs are more often than not
stract nouns, such as love, beauty, or democracy, are expressed by mass nouns. However, discreteness
opposed to all the others, concrete nouns and are (boundedness) of count-noun referents and homoge-
clearly lower in their degree of individuation. The neity of mass-noun referents reflect not so much the
same goes for words denoting substances (prototypi- objective reality itself, but rather its construals by
cal mass nouns), such as air or water, compared with language speakers. Thus, under appropriate circum-
words denoting individual objects (prototypical count stances several cows can alternatively be referred
nouns), e.g., girl, cat, and cup. However, these two to as (several) cows; as a herd (of cows), by means
distinctions are rather orthogonal to each other (for a of a collective count noun; or as cattle, by means of
different opinion, see Sasse, 1993). a collective mass noun. There are amazing cross-
Various structural phenomena and grammatical linguistic differences in the lexical preferences for
rules across languages are in one way or another count or mass uses even within the European Indo-
sensitive to the animacy/empathy/individuation hier- European languages, which deserve profound study;
archy, e.g., the distribution of number distinctions it is also far from clear to what extent the count/
(see Number), the number of case distinctions (see mass distinction is useful crosslinguistically (Behrens,
Case), direct versus inverse marking of subjectobject 1995; Rijkhoff, 2002: 4456; Koptjevskaja-Tamm,
relations (e.g., in Navajo), etc., (see Dahl and 2004b). Personal proper names are another example
Fraurud, 1996 for an overview). However, since the of an ontologically based, rather than phenomenologi-
hierarchy looks different for the different phenomena cally based, classification: thus, for example, organiza-
and is often operationally defined as to whatever tions are often given proper names that may behave
determines the phenomena under investigation linguistically more or less similarly to personal proper
(Dahl, 2000: 40), one might suspect that it is in fact names (Fraurud, 1996).
an illusion, hiding several different, more basic dis- Language-specific classifications of nouns (or
tinctions. And in fact, the seemingly self-explanatory of the corresponding entities in our conceptual
concept of individuation is itself in need of inde- world) underlie their different combinability with
pendent psycholinguistic research (Comrie, 1981: various linguistic elements. The most grammatica-
178193). lized form of nominal classification is gender (see
Classifications along the above given lines are sen- Gender, Grammatical). Several properties distin-
sitive to the type of entity denoted by a noun, i.e., to guish prototypical genders from prototypical classi-
its correlate in the physical world, the class of its fiers: numeral classifiers, occurring in numeral
possible referents. However, what often counts even constructions, e.g., in many Southeast Asian lan-
more is the mental reflection of these possible refer- guages (see Numerals), or possessive classifiers, oc-
ents, the way they are construed, i.e., the properties of curring in adnominal possession, e.g., in Melanesian
the corresponding concepts in the mental lexicon. languages (see Possession, Adnominal; Classifiers and
Take, for instance, the opposition between count and Noun Classes: Semantics). There are, however, many
mass nouns. In English, the count noun cow easily intermediate cases (cf. Aikhenvald, 2000; Rijkhoff,
combines with numerals, e.g., one cow, three cows, 2002).
722 Nouns

Relationality predicates (e.g., The little boy is playing with the


new toy) or as attributes to other nouns (the boys
While almost all verbs are relational in the sense of
new toy). They can also be used in nonreferring func-
relating participants to an event (see Verbs), most
tions, e.g., as predicates (Peter is a boy), and as non-
prototypical nouns are absolute, or sortal (Lo bner,
referential attributes, e.g., a childrens hospital. In
1985): they designate concrete individual objects,
these functions nouns often show fewer of their typi-
e.g., a cup or a book, not obviously related to other
cal inflectional properties and sometimes even ac-
entities. A lot of nouns are relational for example,
quire certain properties of other word classes
body-part nouns and nouns referring to other parts,
(Hopper and Thompson, 1984; Stassen, 1997;
kin terms and nouns referring to other interpersonal Croft, 2001; Mauri, 2003; Koptjevskaja-Tamm,
relations, or words like consequence or results. They
2004, and Nonverbal Predication).
invoke a special relation to another entity and can
Typical nominal inflectional markers include mar-
often not be understood without this entity: a person
kers of number (see Number), case (see Case), posses-
cannot be a neighbor or a son, but is always some-
sion (see Possession, Adnominal), and definiteness
ones neighbor or son. Many more nouns are relation-
(see Definite and Indefinite). The noun in (1), from
al in a weak sense, in that their meaning itself
Hungarian, carries the plural number marker, the
presupposes or invokes specific relations. Thus, for
third person plural possessive marker, and the accu-
example, since books are strongly associated with sative case marker, while the above-mentioned Swed-
their authors, with their content, and with a specific
ish example demonstrates inflection for definiteness.
purpose, the corresponding relations are readily in-
voked by the semantic structure of the word book. (1) bara t-ai-k-at
The term qualia structure (Pustejovsky, 1998) refers friend-PL-POSS.3PL-ACC
to a system of relations that characterize the seman- their friends (ACC)
tics of nominals, in a way parallel to the argument Both case markers and possessive markers usually
structure of a verb, and includes the four basic roles: signal syntactic relations between nouns (or noun
(1) the constitutive role (the relation between an ob- phrases headed by them) and other expressions and
ject and its constituents, or proper parts), (2) the thus constitute nominal dependent marking and head
formal role, distinguishing the object within a larger marking, respectively (Nichols, 1986). Possessive
domain (color, shape, etc.), (3) the telic role (purpose markers are normally chosen in accordance with
and function of the object), and (4) the agentive role the person and number of the possessor, that is either
(factors involved in the origin or bringing about of explicitly mentioned in the same construction or not.
an object). In many languages nouns can also attach person mar-
There has been relatively much crosslinguistic re- kers when used as nominal predicates. Example (2),
search on the issues of inalienable versus alienable from Chukchi (Chukot), illustrates a polite introduc-
possession (see Possession, Adnominal), or how typi- tion routine.
cally body-part terms and/or kin terms are singled out
in the ways their relations to other entities are (2) qun waj enmen CekwaNaqaj-eXem
INTERJ INTERJ so personal.name-1SG.ABS
encoded. Otherwise, the nominal qualia structure
[CekwaNaqaj:] Well, then Im CekwaNaqaj.
has received very little attention compared with the
eej CekwaNaqaj-eXet
extensive work on the verbal argument structure and INTJ personal.name-2SG.ABS
its manifestations across languages. There are, how- [The woman:] Ooh, youre
ever, many interesting issues and amazing cross- CekwaNaqaj. (Dunn, 1999: 318)
linguistic variation here. Thus, for example, Russian
and Swedish mark the telic role of key in different, As predicates, nouns can sometimes attach tense-
not to say opposite, ways: the key that belongs to the aspect-mood markers. However, even nouns used in
door, i.e., the key the purpose of which is to open the other functions as arguments and adjuncts can
door corresponds to nyckeln TILL dorren, key.the TO occasionally inflect for these categories, independent-
door.the, in Swedish, but to kljuc OT dveri, key FROM ly of the clause they belong to, as in (3) from Guaran.
door:GEN, in Russian. (3) O-va-ta che-roga-kue-pe.
3-move-FUT 1SG-house-PST-in
He will move into my former house.
Nominal Inflectional Morphology and (Nordlinger and Sadler, 2004: 781)
Functions
All of the categories expressed by nominal inflectional
Nouns typically head noun phrases that are used morphology can also be expressed by other means,
for reference, i.e., as arguments and adjuncts to such as grammatical words, and the different
Nouns 723

categories differ in their crosslinguistic proneness to be and Terms; Mass Expressions; Nominalization; Nonverbal
encoded by inflection. Thus, while case is a relatively Predication; Noun Phrases; Number; Numerals; Objects,
common inflectional category, bound definiteness Properties, and Functions; Possession, Adnominal; Predi-
markers are much more rare. cation; Pronouns; Proper Names: Philosophical Aspects;
Tense; Verbs; Word Classes/Parts of Speech: Overview.
Languages also differ considerably in whether they
have nominal inflectional morphology at all (and
how much). It has been suggested (Lehmann and
Bibliography
Moravcsik, 2000; Moravcsik, 2003) that nominal
inflection in a language implies verbal inflection. Aikhenvald A Y (2000). Classifiers: a typology of
Thus, while there are languages with both, with noun categorization devices. Oxford: Oxford University
neither (Vietnamese), and with only verbal but no Press.
nominal inflection (Japanese), nominal inflection Aikhenvald A Y & Dixon R M W (1998). Dependencies
without verbal does not yet seem to have been between grammatical systems. Language 74, 5680.
Behrens L (1995). Categorizing between lexicon and
attested. There are other crosslinguistic generaliza-
grammar. Lexicology 1, 1112.
tions relating nominal and verbal morphology. For
Bybee J L (1985). Morphology: a study of the relation
example, according to Nichols (1986: 75), If a lan- between meaning and form. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
guage has major, salient head-marking morphology Comrie B (1981). Language universals and linguistic
anywhere, it will have it at the clause level, or in typology. Oxford: Blackwell.
other words, if a language uses head-marking in pos- Corbett G (2000). Number. Cambridge: Cambridge Univer-
sessive noun phrases (primarily possessive affixes), it sity Press.
will use head-marking to relate arguments to verbs Croft W (2001). Radical construction grammar: syntactic
(i.e., primarily verbal agreement markers). Siewierska theory in typological perspective. Oxford: Oxford
(1998) confirms further that the majority of lan- University Press.
Dahl O (2000). Egophoricity in discourse and syntax.
guages in her large global sample show close similar-
Functions of language 7.1, 3770.
ity between nominal possessive affixes and verbal & Fraurud K (1996). Animacy in grammar
Dahl O
person marking.
and discourse. In Fretheim T & Gundel J K (eds.) Refer-
There are also possible generalizations on interac- ence and referent accessibility. Amsterdam: Benjamins.
tion among different nominal inflectional categories. 4764.
According to Aikhenvald and Dixon (1998) and Dunn M J (1999). A grammar of Chukchi. Canberra:
Corbett (2000), there are many examples of case Australian National University.
systems with a larger number of distinctions in the Evans N (2000). Word classes in the worlds languages. In
singular than in the plural, but no examples are given Booij G, Lehmann C & Mugdan J (eds.) Morphology:
of the opposite possibility. In Basque, number distinc- an international handbook on inflection and word-
tions hit only definite nouns. In other languages defi- formation, vol. 1. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. 708732.
nite nominals sometimes show more elaborate case Fraurud K (1996). Cognitive ontology and NP form. In
Fretheim T & Gundel J K (eds.) Reference and referent
and/or number paradigms than indefinite ones even
accessibility. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 6588.
though languages with both case and bound definite-
Hopper P & Thompson S A (1984). The discourse basis for
ness markers are relatively rare: Matthew Dryers lexical categories in universal grammar. Language 56,
700-language sample contains only 25 instances 251299.
(Matthew Dryer, personal communication). Koptjevskaja-Tamm M (2004a). Marias ring of gold:
The order of nominal inflectional (and derivational) adnominal possession and non-anchoring relations in
markers with respect to the stem and to each other the European languages. In Kim J-Y, Lander Y &
obeys certain principles, basically reflecting the degree Partee B H (eds.) Possessives and beyond: semantics and
of semantic relevance of the corresponding categories syntax. Amherst, MA: GLSA Publications.
to the meaning of the stem (Bybee, 1985). However, Koptjevskaja-Tamm M (2004b). Mass and collection. In
languages sometimes show contradictory orders be- Booij G, Lehmann C & Mugdan J (eds.) Morphology:
a handbook on inflection and word formation, vol. 2.
tween inflectional markers. Thus, while in (1) from
Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. 10671074.
Hungarian, the possessive suffix precedes the case
Kuno S & Kaburaki E (1977). Empathy and syntax.
suffix, Finnish nouns show the opposite order in their Linguistic Inquiry 8, 627672.
nominal suffixes. Lehmann C & Moravcsik E (2000). Noun. In Booij G,
Lehmann C & Mugdan J (eds.) Morphology: an interna-
tional handbook of inflection and word-formation, vol. 1.
See also: Adpositions; Articles, Definite and Indefinite; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. 732757.
Case; Classifiers and Noun Classes: Semantics; Definite Lo bner S (1985). Definites. Journal of Semantics 4,
and Indefinite; Gender, Grammatical; Kinship Expressions 279326.
724 Nouns

Mauri C (2003). I lessemi nominali in funzione Nordlinger R & Sadler L (2004). Nominal tense in cross-
non referenziale: uno studio interlinguistico. Facolta` linguistic perspective. Language 80(4), 776806.
di lettere e filosofia. Pavia: Universita` degli studi di Pustejovsky J (1998). The generative lexicon. Cambridge,
Pavia. MA: MIT Press.
Mithun M (2000). Noun and verb in Iroquoian languages: Rijkhoff J (2002). The noun phrase. Oxford: Oxford
multicategorisation from multiple criteria. In Vogel P & University Press.
Comrie B (eds.) Approaches to the typology of word Sasse H-J (1993). Syntactic categories and subcategories.
classes. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 397420. In Jacobs J, von Stechow A, Sternefeld W & Vennemann
Moravcsik E (2003). Inflectional morphology in the T (eds.) Syntax: an international handbook of contempo-
Hungarian noun phrase: a typological assesment. In rary research. Berlin: de Gruyter. 646686.
Plank F (ed.) Noun phrase structure in the languages of Siewierska A (1998). On nominal and verbal person mark-
Europe. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 113252. ing. Linguistic Typology 2(1), 156.
Nichols J (1986). Head-marking and dependent-marking Stassen L (1997). Intransitive predication. Oxford: Oxford
grammar. Language 62, 56119. University Press.

Number
G G Corbett, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK While there are many languages like English in this
2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. respect, we also find instances of verbal number,
that is, where number is realized on the verb to in-
dicate the number of events or the number of partici-
Number is one of the most common features of pants. For an example we turn to Rapanui (an
the worlds languages. While it is common, it is cer- Oceanic language spoken on Easter Island) (Veronica
tainly not uniform. The situation in languages like Du Feu, personal communication):
English is often treated as normal. Yet the number (1) ruku
feature reveals many surprises, and the system found dive
in English is a rather extreme one, when seen against
the possibilities established from a survey of the lan- (2) ruku ruku
go diving
guages of the world. We shall consider characteristics
of the English-type systems in turn, showing some of The form in (2) is appropriate if there is more than
the ways in which they are typical or atypical and the one dive; it does not require more than one person to
contrasting types of system found elsewhere. We shall be diving. The reduplicated form indicates verbal plu-
give particular prominence to the question of number rality: there are plural events. Verbal number may also
values. This entry is based on Corbett (2000), where a be concerned with the number of participants rather
much fuller account is given. than the number of events (see, for instance, Durie,
1986). Verbal number may be restricted to relatively
small numbers of verbs, and it rarely shows more than
Nominal and Verbal Number a two-way opposition (for details see Corbett, 2000:
English makes a semantic and a formal distinction 243264). Nominal number shows a greater range of
between, for instance, cat and cats, child and chil- possibilities and we shall concentrate on that type.
dren. In English, this number distinction reflects a
nominal feature. It is realized on nouns via relatively
Number as an Obligatory Category
simple inflectional morphology. (There are many
languages with more complex morphological reali- Number is an obligatory category in English. If some-
zation of number, see, for instance, the account of one says theres a goat in the garden when there are
Nilo-Saharan languages in Dimmendaal, 2000.) In several, this is misleading and inappropriate. In many
English, when the number feature is realized on languages, however, the use of the plural is not oblig-
verbs, this is by agreement with a subject noun atory, but it is available when it is important to mark
phrase, as in the children were playing together. The number. Perhaps the clearest example is provided
verb is plural to indicate the number of children, and by the Cushitic language Baiso, spoken on Gidicho
not the number of playing events. That is, we have a Island in Lake Abaya (southern Ethiopia) and on the
nominal feature which can be realized where western shore of the lake. Baiso nouns can mark
expected, on the noun phrase, and also on the verb. general meaning, that is, they have a form which
724 Nouns

Mauri C (2003). I lessemi nominali in funzione Nordlinger R & Sadler L (2004). Nominal tense in cross-
non referenziale: uno studio interlinguistico. Facolta` linguistic perspective. Language 80(4), 776806.
di lettere e filosofia. Pavia: Universita` degli studi di Pustejovsky J (1998). The generative lexicon. Cambridge,
Pavia. MA: MIT Press.
Mithun M (2000). Noun and verb in Iroquoian languages: Rijkhoff J (2002). The noun phrase. Oxford: Oxford
multicategorisation from multiple criteria. In Vogel P & University Press.
Comrie B (eds.) Approaches to the typology of word Sasse H-J (1993). Syntactic categories and subcategories.
classes. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 397420. In Jacobs J, von Stechow A, Sternefeld W & Vennemann
Moravcsik E (2003). Inflectional morphology in the T (eds.) Syntax: an international handbook of contempo-
Hungarian noun phrase: a typological assesment. In rary research. Berlin: de Gruyter. 646686.
Plank F (ed.) Noun phrase structure in the languages of Siewierska A (1998). On nominal and verbal person mark-
Europe. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 113252. ing. Linguistic Typology 2(1), 156.
Nichols J (1986). Head-marking and dependent-marking Stassen L (1997). Intransitive predication. Oxford: Oxford
grammar. Language 62, 56119. University Press.

Number
G G Corbett, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK While there are many languages like English in this
2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. respect, we also find instances of verbal number,
that is, where number is realized on the verb to in-
dicate the number of events or the number of partici-
Number is one of the most common features of pants. For an example we turn to Rapanui (an
the worlds languages. While it is common, it is cer- Oceanic language spoken on Easter Island) (Veronica
tainly not uniform. The situation in languages like Du Feu, personal communication):
English is often treated as normal. Yet the number (1) ruku
feature reveals many surprises, and the system found dive
in English is a rather extreme one, when seen against
the possibilities established from a survey of the lan- (2) ruku ruku
go diving
guages of the world. We shall consider characteristics
of the English-type systems in turn, showing some of The form in (2) is appropriate if there is more than
the ways in which they are typical or atypical and the one dive; it does not require more than one person to
contrasting types of system found elsewhere. We shall be diving. The reduplicated form indicates verbal plu-
give particular prominence to the question of number rality: there are plural events. Verbal number may also
values. This entry is based on Corbett (2000), where a be concerned with the number of participants rather
much fuller account is given. than the number of events (see, for instance, Durie,
1986). Verbal number may be restricted to relatively
small numbers of verbs, and it rarely shows more than
Nominal and Verbal Number a two-way opposition (for details see Corbett, 2000:
English makes a semantic and a formal distinction 243264). Nominal number shows a greater range of
between, for instance, cat and cats, child and chil- possibilities and we shall concentrate on that type.
dren. In English, this number distinction reflects a
nominal feature. It is realized on nouns via relatively
Number as an Obligatory Category
simple inflectional morphology. (There are many
languages with more complex morphological reali- Number is an obligatory category in English. If some-
zation of number, see, for instance, the account of one says theres a goat in the garden when there are
Nilo-Saharan languages in Dimmendaal, 2000.) In several, this is misleading and inappropriate. In many
English, when the number feature is realized on languages, however, the use of the plural is not oblig-
verbs, this is by agreement with a subject noun atory, but it is available when it is important to mark
phrase, as in the children were playing together. The number. Perhaps the clearest example is provided
verb is plural to indicate the number of children, and by the Cushitic language Baiso, spoken on Gidicho
not the number of playing events. That is, we have a Island in Lake Abaya (southern Ethiopia) and on the
nominal feature which can be realized where western shore of the lake. Baiso nouns can mark
expected, on the noun phrase, and also on the verb. general meaning, that is, they have a form which
Number 725

is noncommittal as to number, along with singular, fewer nominals, namely those which are high in
paucal (example (8) below), and plural (Corbett and animacy. Thus, in Slavey (an Athapaskan language
Hayward, 1987). The form lu ban lion does not spoken in parts of the Northwest Territories, British
specify a number of lions (it could be one, or more Columbia, and Alberta, Canada), number may be
than that) (Dick Hayward, personal communication). marked on the noun phrase, provided the noun
denotes a human or a dog (Rice, 1989: 247).
(3) lu ban foofe
We wish to investigate the countability preferences
lion.GENERAL watched.1SING
I watched lion (Allan, 1980) of nominals (including pronouns as well
as nouns). There is considerable variety in the worlds
Having a distinct form for general number is highly languages. Consider the following Warrgamay exam-
unusual. There are many languages which can ex- ple (Queensland, Australia) (Dixon, 1980: 266268):
press general meaning, but they do so by means of
a form shared with the singular. This more usual (5) yibi-yibi Nulmburu-Ngu
child-REDUP.ABS woman-ERG
situation, with general identical to singular, can be
wurrbi-bajun-du buudi-lgani-y
illustrated from Arbore (also a Cushitic language).
big-very-ERG take-CONT-UNMARKED.TENSE
We find pairs like the following (Hayward, 1984: malan-gu
159183). river-ALL
(4) a. kele h the very big woman/women is/are taking the
gelded goat(s) children to the creek
b. keleh-me We see that a noun can be marked for number
gelded goats in Warrgamay, as in yibi-yibi child. However, this
c. goran
is not required; forms like nulmburungu woman/
heifer cow(s)
women are quite normal. Dixon (1980: 267) stated
d. gor-no
heifer cows that a noun in this language is not normally specified
e. ke r for number and suggested that this is the typical
dog(s) situation in Australia (1980: 22). Warrgamay is
f. ker-o particularly interesting, since in (5) the verb does
dogs not determine number either. As for pronouns, the
first and second persons (singular, dual, and plural)
Alhough the morphology may appear comparable
and the third dual and plural are strictly specified for
to English, the meanings of the forms are different:
number and are used only for reference to humans,
kero guarantees more than one dog, and it would be
and occasionally tame dogs (Dixon, 1981: 3940).
used when to indicate this is important; ke r does not
The form filling the third singular slot can range
imply only one: it might be one, it might be more than
over all persons and all numbers (it can have nonhu-
that. (There are other, less frequent number pairings
man as well as human reference) but its unmarked
in Arbore.) Systems like that of Arbore, in which
sense (1981: 40) is third-person singular.
number is not an obligatory category (and so is argu-
Thus, in Warrgamay, the word for woman is not
ably not inflectional) are common in the worlds lan-
normally specified for number, while in English it
guages. At the opposite extreme from English we find
must be. Yet the first and second persons are. This is
Piraha , the only remaining member of the Mura fam-
part of a wider pattern. The observation that the sets
ily, spoken in 1997 by some 220 people along the
of nominals involved in number distinctions are
Maici River (Amazonas, Brazil). It has been described
related to animacy was taken up and investigated
by Everett (1986), who stated that it had no system of
further by Smith-Stark (1974), who proposed the
grammatical number, even in the pronouns. This is
version of the animacy hierarchy shown in Figure 1.
extremely rare.
Smith-Stark suggested that plurality splits a lan-
guage if it is a significant opposition for certain
The Nominals Involved in the Number
categories but irrelevant for others (1974: 657).
System
The type of evidence he produced concerned mark-
In English and similar languages, the majority of ing of the noun phrase for number (usually by marking
nominals can mark number, from the personal pro- on the noun itself) and agreement in number
nouns and nouns denoting persons (e.g., nurse) down (mainly verbal agreement but with some instances of
to those denoting inanimate objects (e.g., blanket), agreement within the noun phrase).
and even to some denoting abstracts (e.g., week). As postulating a typological hierarchy implies, var-
Many languages restrict the number opposition to ious languages make the split at different points. An
726 Number

Figure 1 The Smith-Stark (animacy) hierarchy.

example of a split between pronouns and nouns is of values (see Number Values). This is a significant
found in Bengali, since according to Masica (1991: challenge. Smith-Stark considered only plurals, sug-
225226) number is obligatory for pronouns, while gesting that other values, such as the dual, would
other plural suffixes are optional. In Gunwinggu, a follow the plural. This situation is certainly not the
Gunwingguan language of western Arnhem Land, only possibility. For instance, in Avar, some nouns
pronominal affixes on the verb mark number for have a paucal, and in modern Hebrew and in Maltese,
humans but not normally for nonhumans (Evans, some nouns have a dual (in addition to singular and
2003: 234235, 417418). A lower split is found in plural). The nouns involved are relatively few in com-
agreement in Mundari (a Munda language of east parison with those with a plural, and they are not those
India); verbs agree in number with nominals on the at the top of the animacy hierarchy. These paucals and
hierarchy as far down as animate nouns, but not with duals can be analyzed as minor numbers; they do not
inanimates (Bhattacharya, 1976: 191192). pattern according to the animacy hierarchy, but they
Interesting information on which nouns have a are counterexamples of a narrowly definable type.
plural, and whether its use is obligatory, can be Then there are other apparent number values that
found in Haspelmaths (2005) map for the World appear to run counter to the hierarchy; for example,
atlas of language structures. His data, from a sample associatives, as in Bagvalal (Nakh-Daghestanian) jas
of 290 languages, are in accord with the animacy girl, daughter, jas-i (normal plural) girls, daughters,
hierarchy. In addition, he mapped the distribution jas-ari (associative plural) daughter and her family
of the different types. Obligatory number marking (Danie`l, 2001: 135136). Associatives involve an ad-
for different types of noun (the English pattern) is ditional category and so fall outside the scope of
found in western and northern Eurasia and much of the constraints above (Corbett and Mithun, 1996;
Africa. Elsewhere, Haspelmaths sample reveals a Moravcsik, 2003; Moravcsik and Daniel, 2005).
more mixed picture. He found optional marking of A discussion of these various complications is beyond
number to be common in Southeast and East Asia and the scope of this entry; see Corbett (2000: 5488)
Australia, while a lack of number marking is wide- for more detailed data on the animacy hierarchy
spread in New Guinea and Australia. For comparable and Corbett (2000: 89132) for an integration of
data on pronouns see Daniel (2005). the typology of the nominals involved in number
Even in languages that mark number as extensively oppositions with the typology of values.
as English does, there are usually some nouns which
are off the bottom of the scale, those which do not The Semantics of Number
enter into number oppositions. In English, they typi-
cally pattern with the singulars, thus reliability has So long as we stay with innocent examples like
the form of a singular and takes singular agreements. English cat and cats, the semantics of number look
On the other hand, in Manam (Lichtenberk, 1983: clear, since cats is appropriate for more than one
269), mass nouns are treated as plural (unless they instance of cat. In fact, there are many concealed
refer to a single quantity): difficulties: a concise overview of work on number
within formal semantics can be found in Link (1998),
(6) daN di-e no who showed how the study of plurals related to dif-
water 3PL-exist ferent movements in linguistic semantics and
there is water
provided a substantial bibliography. Ordinary plurals
(available)
like cats are only one possible type of number; if we
In various Bantu languages we often find both consider I versus we, it becomes clear that here
possibilities: some mass nouns are singular and we have an associative use of the plural; we is most
some plural. often used for I and other(s) associated with me
We have concentrated on the basic singular/plural (Moravcsik, 2003; Corbett, 2004). These different
opposition. An important goal of the typological in- uses are bound up with the nominals position on
vestigation of number is to integrate the typology of the animacy hierarchy. Thus, in English, while the
the nominals involved in number with the typology items at the very top of the hierarchy have associative
Number 727

uses, nouns lower on the hierarchy, like coffee, have a term trial more widely, according to the form of the
number opposition provided they are recategorized. inflections (derived historically from the numeral
If coffee denotes a type, or a typical quantity of three), even for languages where the forms are used
coffee, then there is an available plural, as in: she synchronically for small groups, including those
always keeps three different coffees, and weve greater than three (for which paucal would be
ordered two teas and three coffees. more accurate). The trial of Larike is not a paucal,
but strictly a trial according to Laidig and Laidig.
Number Values The Paucal
A striking way in which English is limited in its num- As just noted, paucals are used to refer to a small
ber system is in terms of the number values. It can number of distinct real world entities, somewhat
distinguish only between singular and plural. Many akin to the English quantifier a few in meaning.
languages have more distinctions. There is no specific upper numerical limit on the use
of paucals (and their lower boundary varies accord-
The Dual
ing to the system in which they are found). Let us
A common system is one in which singular and plural return to the Cushitic language Baiso. Besides the
are supplemented by a dual to refer to two distinct general number forms (as in (3), where number is
real-world entities. Examples are widespread. We not specified), nouns also have singular, paucal and
will take Central Yupik, as spoken in southwestern plural. Here is the paucal (Dick Hayward, personal
Alaska; the number forms are: singular arnaq communication).
woman, dual arnak two women and plural arnat
(8) luban-jaa foofe
three or more women. The addition of the dual has
lion-PAUCAL watched.1SING
an effect on the plural, which is now used for three or I watched a few lions
more real-world entities. More generally, a change in
the system gives the plural a different meaning. As The paucal is used in Baiso when referring to a
with the plural, the use of the dual need not be oblig- small number of individuals, from two to about six.
atory; Slovenian is a language with a dual, but one The Baiso system (for nouns) of singular/paucal/
whose use is subject to interesting conditions (see plural, also with a general form, is rare. The paucal
Derganc, 2003). And in Kxoe (Central Khoisan) the is usually found together with a dual, so that the
plural is used of a man and wife; to use the dual system of number values is singular/dual/paucal/
would be an insult, because it would suggest they plural. This widespread system is found, for example,
were together by chance (Treis, 2000). in Manam, an Oceanic language spoken on islands
off the north coast of New Guinea (Lichtenberk,
The Trial 1983: 108109).
The trial refers to three distinct real-world entities, The Largest Systems
and it occurs in systems with the number values:
singular, dual, trial and plural. A particularly clear It is interesting to ask what is the largest system of
instance is found in Larike (LarikeWakasihu), a number values. There are claims in the literature
Central Moluccan language spoken on the western for languages with a quadral, for four distinct real-
tip of Ambon Island, Indonesia. (Central Moluccan world entities, as part of a system of five number
forms part of the Central MalayoPolynesian sub- values. Systems with five number values have indeed
group of Austronesian.) This example is from Laidig been found, and these are the largest systems, but
and Laidig (1990: 96): the evidence specifically for a quadral is less certain.
All the claims come from within the Austronesian
(7) Matidui-tue au-huse nusa family, and the best documented case is Sursurunga
3TRIAL-live at-there island (Hutchisson, 1986, and personal communications),
those three live on the island
spoken in southern New Ireland. The forms in ques-
over there
tion are restricted to the personal pronouns, but are
The reason for citing Larike is that it has a genu- found with all of them, the first person (inclusive and
ine trial, which is available for use for exactly three exclusive), the second and the third. Given the con-
(Laidig and Laidig, 1990: 92). The dual and trial clusion to be reached, we shall label the forms greater
forms of Larike can be traced back to the numerals paucal (Table 1).
two and three and the plural comes historically Here is an example of what we shall call a greater
from four. This is a frequent development in Austro- paucal form (Hutchisson, 1986; and personal
nesian languages. Accordingly, some linguists use the communications).
728 Number

Table 1 Emphatic pronouns in Sursurunga (Based on Hutchisson, 1986, and personal communications)

Singular Dual Paucal Greater paucal Plural

1 exclusive iau giur gimtul gimhat gim


1 inclusive gitar gittul githat git
2 iau gaur gamtul gamhat gam
3 -i/on/ai diar ditul dihat di

Note that a is used to indicate schwa (e).

(9) gim-hat ka wa n languages with five number values, namely Lihir,


1EXCL- maternal.uncle:nephew/ Tangga and Marshallese; we do not have such de-
GREATER_PAUCAL niece tailed information as for Sursurunga and there is no
we four who are in an unclenephew/niece certain case of a quadral: it seems that in all cases the
relationship highest value below plural in such systems can be
The greater paucal has two further uses. First, Sur- used as a paucal.
surunga plural pronouns are never used with terms Besides the split in the paucal, we may also find
for dyads (kinship pairings like unclenephew/niece). languages that split the plural, with greater plurals
Here the greater paucal is used, for a minimum of of different types, as for instance in Arabic (Ojeda,
four, and not just for exactly four (Hutchisson, 1986: 1992). Greater plurals may imply an excessive number
10). Second, a speaker may use the first-person- or else all possible instances of the referent.
inclusive greater paucal in hortatory discourse to sug-
gest joint action involving more than four persons,
Number Mismatches and the Agreement
including the speaker. These two uses account for
the majority of instances of the use of the forms in
Hierarchy
question. In terms of meaning, the term quadral is Nominal number may be realized directly on the
therefore not appropriate, and so paucal is more noun phrase; it may also be marked on the verb
accurate. (agreement). In the straightforward cases the values
Why then have we suggested greater paucal? To of number match. There are also many instances
see why, we need to examine the rest of the number where we find a mismatch, and English is an especial-
system of Sursurunga (using data and judgments ly rich source here. An interesting mismatch involves
from Don Hutchisson, personal communications). nouns which are singular morphologically and (typi-
The regular use of the dual is quite strictly for two cally) have a normal plural and yet, when singular,
people. It also has one special use for the singular may take plural agreement, particularly in British
when the referent is in a taboo relationship to the English:
speaker. The so-called trial can be used for three,
(10) the committee have decided.
and it can also refer to small groups, typically
around three or four, and to nuclear families of any Having an agreement choice here is made possible by
size. It is, therefore, not strictly a trial, as discussed the semantics of the noun. However, the likelihood of
earlier: it could be glossed as a few and it should be examples like (10) being acceptable depends on the
labelled paucal. The development of trial into a variety of English involved, and speakers from differ-
paucal is a frequent one, as we noted above. The ent parts of the world have opposing judgments.
so-called quadral, as we have just seen, is primarily Speakers of different varieties were asked to consider
used in different ways with larger groups, of four or sentences apparently produced by nonnative speakers
more (an appropriate gloss would be several). This of English and to correct them where necessary (data
too would qualify as a paucal. There are therefore from Johansson, 1979: 203; Bauer, 1988: 254). The
two paucals in Sursurunga, a paucal (traditionally relevant test sentence was:
trial) and a greater paucal (traditionally quadral).
(11) The audience were enjoying every minute of the
The plural is for numbers of entities larger than what
show.
is covered by the greater paucal; however, there is no
strict dividing line. Using semantic labels, we can say (Table 2) For each variety, n is the number of respon-
that the number feature in Sursurunga has the dents, and the other figures are the percentage giving
values: singular, dual, paucal, greater paucal, and each response. There is substantial divergence be-
plural. Thus, Sursurunga has a well-documented tween the varieties. Most speakers of British English
five-value number feature. There are certainly other were happy with the example as given, as were the
Number 729

Table 2 Judgments on agreement with Committee-Type Table 3 Agreement in written and spoken American English
nouns in three varieties of English (Levin, 2001: 76)

Response (%) Variety Verbs Relative Personal


pronouns pronouns
GB (n 92) US (n 93) NZ (n 102)
n % plural n % plural n % plural
No correction 77.2 5.4 72.5
NYT 3233 3 702 24 1383 32
Was enjoying 15.2 90.3 20.6
LSAC 524 9 43 74 239 94
Other response 7.6 4.3 6.9
NYT New York Times; LSAC Longman Spoken American
GB Great Britain; US United States; NZ New Zealand.
Corpus.

majority of New Zealand English speakers (for fur- These data fit into a much more general pattern
ther comparative data see Levin, 2001; and Corbett, based on the agreement hierarchy, which comprises
2006). four target types (Figure 2). Possible agreement
Another source of variation is the agreement tar- patterns are constrained as follows:
get; while Table 2 is concerned with the predicate, it
is known that the relative frequency of plural agree- For any controller that permits alternative agreement
ment is different for other agreement targets such as forms, as we move rightwards along the agreement hier-
the personal pronoun. So let us examine the different archy, the likelihood of agreement with greater semantic
agreement targets. In attributive position there is no justification will increase monotonically (that is, with no
intervening decrease).
choice, only singular is possible:
(12) that committee . . . / *those committee. The agreements with committee-type nouns con-
form to this typological claim, and there is a good
In the predicate, as we know, there are two possibi- deal of further evidence, both from number, and from
lities; both numbers are possible in British English: gender (Corbett, 1991: 225260, forthcoming).
(13) The committee has/have agreed to reconvene. The English examples are well known, but
the phenomenon is found much more widely. For
The English relative pronoun does not mark number, instance, Samoan has several such nouns, some mor-
but it controls number agreement in its clause and so phologically simple, like aiga family, and some
its number can be inferred: derived, like au-puaa group of pigs:
(14) the committee, which has decided . . . / the (16) Ua momoe uma le aiga
committee, who have decided . . . PERF.V sleep.PL all ART.SING family
the whole family were asleep
Both numbers are possible. This is also the case with
(O lou igoa o Peko)
the personal pronoun, and here speakers of American
English admit the plural too: (17) A tetei le
but suddenly.awake.PL ART.SING
(15) The committee . . . It . . . / They . . . au-puaa . . .
COLL-pig
Thus, with such nouns, for speakers of British
When the pigs suddenly awake . . .
English, syntactic or semantic agreement is possible
(Moyle)
for all agreement targets, except attributive modi-
fiers, where only syntactic agreement is acceptable. Note that the article is singular, but the verb is
Levin (2001: 76) counted examples of these agree- plural; the use of the verb in the plural is frequent
ments with nouns like committee in American but not obligatory (Mosel and Hovdhaugen, 1992:
English, in a corpus from the New York Times 91, 443, details of sources there). The reason for the
(NYT) and from the Longman Spoken American potential choice of agreement in these cases is clear.
Corpus (LSAC) (Table 3). We have seen that the choice may be influenced by
The picture is remarkably clear. Plural agreement language variety but it is also constrained by linguis-
is more common in spoken rather than written tic factors, notably the agreement hierarchy.
language. Moreover, the choice depends on the syn-
tactic position. In attributive position we find only
Number and Numerals
singular agreement. Plural agreement is increasingly
possible in the predicate, the relative pronoun and the In the discussion of number distinctions, we left out
personal pronoun. any mention of numerals. This is because they can
730 Number

See also: Mass Nouns, Count Nouns, Non-count Nouns:


Philosophical Aspects.
Figure 2 The agreement hierarchy.

References
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There are languages like English, where numerals 541567.
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Bagvalal and Hungarian, among others. And then In Jenner P N, Thompson L C & Starosta S (eds.)
there are languages which have both options, as is Oceanic linguistics special publication 13: Austroasiatic
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the nominative, take a noun in the genitive singular (a Corbett G G (2000). Number. Cambridge: Cambridge
situation which has arisen through the loss of an University Press.
earlier dual); and pjat five and above, when in the Corbett G G (2004). Suppletion in personal pronouns:
nominative, take a noun in the genitive plural. Com- theory versus practice, and the place of reproducibility
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involved. in Bayso. Lingua 73, 128.
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typology of number systems: evidence from Yupik.
Conclusion Journal of Linguistics 32, 117.
Danie`l M (2001). Imja suscestvitelnoe. In Kibrik A E (ed.)
Number is indeed a more complex category than Bagvalinskij jazyk: grammatika: Teksty: Slovari. Mos-
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verbal category as well as a nominal one (but the nouns. In Haspelmath M, Dryer M, Gil D & Comrie B
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und Universalienforschung 56, 165182.
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Dimmendaal G J (2000). Number marking and noun cate-
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up to five. When number is marked by agreement, the Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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but the patterns of mismatching are constrained. Blake B J (eds.) The handbook of Australian languages:
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Council (UK) under grant RES051270122 is pan-dialectal grammar of Mayali, Kunwinjku and Kune
gratefully acknowledged. (2 vols). Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
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Everett D (1986). Piraha. In Derbyshire D C & Pullum G K in linguistics and philosophy 69: Plurality and quantifi-
(eds.) Handbook of Amazonian languages: 1. Berlin: cation. Dordrecht: Kluwer. 1954.
Mouton de Gruyter. 200325. Masica C P (1991). The IndoAryan languages. Cam-
Haspelmath M (2005). Occurrence of nominal plurality. bridge: Cambridge University Press.
In Haspelmath M, Dryer M, Gil D & Comrie B (eds.) Moravcsik E (2003). A semantic analysis of associative
World atlas of language structures. Oxford: Oxford plurals. Studies in Language 27, 469503.
University Press. Moravcsik E & Daniel M (2005). Associative plural. In
Hayward D (1984). Cushitic language studies 2: The Haspelmath M, Dryer M, Gil D & Comrie B (eds.) World
Arbore language: a first investigation: including a vocabu- atlas of language structures. Oxford: Oxford University
lary. Hamburg: Buske. Press.
Hutchisson D (1986). Sursurunga pronouns and the special Mosel U & Hovdhaugen E (1992). Samoan reference gram-
uses of quadral number. In Wiesemann W (ed.) Pronomi- mar. Oslo: Scandinavian University Press.
nal systems (continuum 5). Tu bingen: Narr. 217255. Ojeda A E (1992). The semantics of number in Arabic. In
Johansson S (1979). American and British English Barker C & Dowty D (eds.) The Ohio State University
grammar: an elicitation experiment. English Studies 60, working papers in linguistics 40: Proceedings of the
195215. Second Conference on Linguistics and Semantic Theory,
Laidig W D & Laidig C J (1990). Larike pronouns: duals held at the Ohio State University May 13, 1992. Colum-
and trials in a Central Moluccan language. Oceanic bus: The Ohio State University Department of Linguis-
Linguistics 29, 87109. tics. 303325.
Levin M (2001). Lund studies in English 103: Agreement Rice K (1989). Mouton grammar library 5: A grammar of
with collective nouns in English. Stockholm: Almqvist Slave. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
and Wiksell. Smith-Stark T C (1974). The plurality split. In La Galy M W,
Lichtenberk F (1983). Oceanic linguistics special publica- Fox A R & Bruck A (eds.) Papers from the Tenth Regional
tion 18: A grammar of Manam. Honolulu: University of Meeting, Chicago Linguistic Society, April 1921.
Hawaii Press. Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society. 657671.
Link G (1998). Ten years of research on plurals-where Treis & Yvonne (2000). NP coordination in Kxoe (Central
do we stand? In Hamm F & Hinrichs E (eds.) Studies Khoisan). Afrikanistische Arbeitspapiere 63, 6392.

Numbers: Calculation
C Semenza and A Grana`, University of Trieste, Gallistel, 1992) agree that numerosity is mapped
Trieste, Italy into a memory representation via a accumulator, a
2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. device that sums impulses coming from the elements
of a collection. In long term memory the appreciation
of numerosity is confronted with previous experience.
Human beings, as well as animals, seem to be geneti- The internal representation of a number is thought to
cally endowed with some mathematical abilities in- be analogical and its precision decreases with numer-
cluding a fundamental sense of quantity: most osity. Quantification, i.e., the process of capturing
researchers, in fact, now believe that evolution devel- numerosity and accessing to the correspondent men-
oped a specialized mechanism for number appreciation tal representation, is performed via three basic tasks:
and processing (Gelman and Gallistel, 1978; Meck and subitizing, counting, and estimation.
Church, 1983; Fuson, 1988; Wynn, 1990; Dehaene, Subitizing refers to the ability to correctly ap-
1997; Butterworth, 1999; Brannon and Terrace, preciate small quantities, apparently without serial
2000). This conclusion rests in part on research on processing. The idea that subitizing differs from
human infants: infants are at least able to discriminate counting, not unanimously accepted, rests mainly on
between small numbers of entities, can enumerate the finding that reaction times to number apprecia-
physical actions, actions sequences, and sounds, and tion are the same for quantities inferior to four ele-
can match a number of sounds to the same number of ments and increase exponentially thereafter, where
material objects (Wynn, 1998). counting or estimation become necessary.
Numbers are properties of objects in the external Counting consists of pairing each element of a
world that are mentally represented as abstract con- collection to a number word and considering the
cepts. The numerosity of a collection of elements is last assigned word as representing the numerosity of
in fact independent of physical attributes. Most re- the collection: this latter property is called cardinal-
searchers (Meck and Church, 1983; Gelman and ity The concept of ordinality acquired at the age of
Numbers: Calculation 731

Everett D (1986). Piraha. In Derbyshire D C & Pullum G K in linguistics and philosophy 69: Plurality and quantifi-
(eds.) Handbook of Amazonian languages: 1. Berlin: cation. Dordrecht: Kluwer. 1954.
Mouton de Gruyter. 200325. Masica C P (1991). The IndoAryan languages. Cam-
Haspelmath M (2005). Occurrence of nominal plurality. bridge: Cambridge University Press.
In Haspelmath M, Dryer M, Gil D & Comrie B (eds.) Moravcsik E (2003). A semantic analysis of associative
World atlas of language structures. Oxford: Oxford plurals. Studies in Language 27, 469503.
University Press. Moravcsik E & Daniel M (2005). Associative plural. In
Hayward D (1984). Cushitic language studies 2: The Haspelmath M, Dryer M, Gil D & Comrie B (eds.) World
Arbore language: a first investigation: including a vocabu- atlas of language structures. Oxford: Oxford University
lary. Hamburg: Buske. Press.
Hutchisson D (1986). Sursurunga pronouns and the special Mosel U & Hovdhaugen E (1992). Samoan reference gram-
uses of quadral number. In Wiesemann W (ed.) Pronomi- mar. Oslo: Scandinavian University Press.
nal systems (continuum 5). Tubingen: Narr. 217255. Ojeda A E (1992). The semantics of number in Arabic. In
Johansson S (1979). American and British English Barker C & Dowty D (eds.) The Ohio State University
grammar: an elicitation experiment. English Studies 60, working papers in linguistics 40: Proceedings of the
195215. Second Conference on Linguistics and Semantic Theory,
Laidig W D & Laidig C J (1990). Larike pronouns: duals held at the Ohio State University May 13, 1992. Colum-
and trials in a Central Moluccan language. Oceanic bus: The Ohio State University Department of Linguis-
Linguistics 29, 87109. tics. 303325.
Levin M (2001). Lund studies in English 103: Agreement Rice K (1989). Mouton grammar library 5: A grammar of
with collective nouns in English. Stockholm: Almqvist Slave. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
and Wiksell. Smith-Stark T C (1974). The plurality split. In La Galy M W,
Lichtenberk F (1983). Oceanic linguistics special publica- Fox A R & Bruck A (eds.) Papers from the Tenth Regional
tion 18: A grammar of Manam. Honolulu: University of Meeting, Chicago Linguistic Society, April 1921.
Hawaii Press. Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society. 657671.
Link G (1998). Ten years of research on plurals-where Treis & Yvonne (2000). NP coordination in Kxoe (Central
do we stand? In Hamm F & Hinrichs E (eds.) Studies Khoisan). Afrikanistische Arbeitspapiere 63, 6392.

Numbers: Calculation
C Semenza and A Grana`, University of Trieste, Gallistel, 1992) agree that numerosity is mapped
Trieste, Italy into a memory representation via a accumulator, a
2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. device that sums impulses coming from the elements
of a collection. In long term memory the appreciation
of numerosity is confronted with previous experience.
Human beings, as well as animals, seem to be geneti- The internal representation of a number is thought to
cally endowed with some mathematical abilities in- be analogical and its precision decreases with numer-
cluding a fundamental sense of quantity: most osity. Quantification, i.e., the process of capturing
researchers, in fact, now believe that evolution devel- numerosity and accessing to the correspondent men-
oped a specialized mechanism for number appreciation tal representation, is performed via three basic tasks:
and processing (Gelman and Gallistel, 1978; Meck and subitizing, counting, and estimation.
Church, 1983; Fuson, 1988; Wynn, 1990; Dehaene, Subitizing refers to the ability to correctly ap-
1997; Butterworth, 1999; Brannon and Terrace, preciate small quantities, apparently without serial
2000). This conclusion rests in part on research on processing. The idea that subitizing differs from
human infants: infants are at least able to discriminate counting, not unanimously accepted, rests mainly on
between small numbers of entities, can enumerate the finding that reaction times to number apprecia-
physical actions, actions sequences, and sounds, and tion are the same for quantities inferior to four ele-
can match a number of sounds to the same number of ments and increase exponentially thereafter, where
material objects (Wynn, 1998). counting or estimation become necessary.
Numbers are properties of objects in the external Counting consists of pairing each element of a
world that are mentally represented as abstract con- collection to a number word and considering the
cepts. The numerosity of a collection of elements is last assigned word as representing the numerosity of
in fact independent of physical attributes. Most re- the collection: this latter property is called cardinal-
searchers (Meck and Church, 1983; Gelman and ity The concept of ordinality acquired at the age of
732 Numbers: Calculation

about 30 months, refers to the ability to judge which because two functions have neighboring neuroana-
of two different quantities is larger. tomical implementations. Second, empirical evidence
According to Gelman and Gallistel (1978, 1992), argues against an obligatory verbal basis of calcu-
cardinality is part of innate mathematical knowledge. lation processes: indeed reliable double dissocia-
Such knowledge would also include realizing that: tions between calculation and language have been
(a) each element must correspond to one verbal label reported. Thus global aphasics have been described
only; (b) a conventional order rules verbal labels; still demonstrating remarkable arithmetical skills,
(c) counting applies to any collection of objects; and while severe acalculics have been observed with no
(d) changing the labeling order does not modify the detectable language impairment. The observation, in
numerosity of the collection. A separate ability particular, of a nonaphasic patient who entirely lost
involves separating already counted objects from her knowledge of numbers and number concepts
those that remain to be counted. Not all authors above the numeral four was held as evidence that
believe that counting rests on innate knowledge: the numbers constitute an independent semantic do-
alternative view (Wynn, 1998) is that children deduce main. The same sort of double dissociation may be
principles of counting from experience. found when written rather than oral language skills
Estimation is a quick but less accurate process that are considered. In the same way, neuropsycho-
applies also in the manipulation of internal represen- logical dissociations have been reported of math
tations. Several variables, besides objective numeros- faculties with general cognitive skills: acalculic
ity, have been shown to influence estimation: the patients can still show a higher than average I.Q.,
physical properties of the stimuli, their spatial dispo- while, in contrast, patients with very poor intelligence
sition, practice in the tasks, visual clarity, etc. Estima- (including idiot savants) may yet be able to solve
tion, however, heavily depends on psycho-physic complex arithmetical problems.
laws, like Fechners and Webers, that also affect inter- The deduction here is that while it is possible that
nal representations (Krueger, 1984) like the number some subcomponents impinge on a common basic
line a content of imagery that, in the majority of function, the independence between mathematical
subjects, is thought to support number understanding. skills and other cognitive skills, including language,
Number processing and calculation have a com- seems proved to a large extent. This fact is reflected
plex relation with processing of language. As a conse- in neuropsychological literature where, since the very
quence, neuropsychological disorders affecting the early studies on acalculia, the intuitive distinction
two domains, acalculia and aphasia, are often over- has been commonplace between primary acalculia
lapping and sometimes intimately intertwined. Both and acalculia secondary to disorders (pivotally
linguistic and mathematical functions are largely sus- alexia, agraphia, and spatial deficits) interfering
tained, in right-handed subjects, by the left hemi- with peripheral aspects of number and calculation
sphere, whose lesions often feature aphasia as well processing.
as acalculia (in a series of 50 left hemisphere patients Cognitive analyses of neuropsychological deficits,
studied by Delazer et al., 1999, none of the 37 apha- undertaken in the past three decades, allow nowadays
sics was error free in calculation). This connection extremely fine-grained distinctions among different
may not be the result of chance evolutionary events. processing and representational subcomponents of
Semenza et al. (2004) recently showed that a series of both the number system and calculation. The anatomi-
patients suffering from aphasia as a result of right cal correlation of functions has also made some
rather than left hemispheric lesions were nonetheless progress from the original, still basically correct,
all affected by some form of acalculia. This finding idea, that, with the exception of some spatial compo-
lead to the speculation that linguistic and mathemati- nents located in the right hemisphere, most math
cal faculties, no matter how anatomically and func- skills are located in the left parietal lobe. One cogni-
tionally independent from each other, developed from tive model, the triple code model (Dehaene and
the one hemisphere endowed with the recursive fac- Cohen, 1995), is based on recently discovered anatomi-
ulty, a combinatory capacity at the basis of both cal correlations. The model, while assuming that
faculties (Hauser et al., 2002). Arabic and magnitude representation of numbers
This said, one should be cautious in drawing firm are available to both hemispheres in the vicinity of
conclusions about a stronger relationship between the parieto-occipito-temporal junction (but extending
representation and processing of language and to the occipito-ventral on the left), assigns the verbal
math. First, statistical associations between deficits representation underlying the retrieval of arithmetical
do not allow to infer causal relationships between facts (i.e., single digit problems, like tables, that are,
cognitive functions: associations may stem from com- in learned calculators, retrieved from long term mem-
mon underlying resources (such as attention) or just ory rather than calculated) exclusively to the left
Numbers: Calculation 733

hemisphere; only the left hemisphere would possess the Teens (from eleven to nineteen), the Decades
the representation of the sequence of words corre- (from ten to ninety), and the Multipliers. These last
sponding to verbal numerals and lexical mechanisms includes words like hundred, thousand, or million,
for identifying and producing spoken numerals; these which according to their position in a sequence are
lexical mechanisms, not specific for numbers, would in sum (e.g., hundred and four [100 4]) or are in a
be implemented in the classic language (Brocas product relationship (e.g., four hundred [4  100])
and Wernickes) areas, including the inferior frontal with the lexical primitives. The Arabic numeral sys-
and the superior and middle temporal gyri, as well as tem has a limited lexicon that includes the digits from
basal ganglia and thalamic nuclei. Within the left 1 to 9, whose position within numerals determines
parietal lobe, three major circuits for number proces- the power of 10 by which it must be multiplied (e.g.,
sing were recently identified (Dehaene et al., 2003): a 487 has the value of 4  102 8  101 7  100) and
core system, called into action whenever numbers the digit 0, that indicates the absence of a given power
are manipulated and quantity processing is required, in the base of the number (e.g., in 407, 0 stands for
would be located in the horizontal segment of the 0 decades). Zero has a unique role: it never appears
intra-parietal sulcus; a left angular gyrus area, in in the leftmost position, where it would not make a
connection with other left hemisphere areas, would well-formed integer number.
support the retrieval of arithmetic facts, and a bilat- The lexical processes are thus retrieved on the
eral posterior superior parietal system would sup- basis of knowledge of the correct number class and
port attention on spatial dimensions (including the of the position within the class. Lexical errors con-
number line). sist of the incorrect production of one or more of
Number processing is now considered, on the basis the individual elements in a number (e.g., 5 instead
of evidence brought about by cases of double dissoci- of 6, 45 instead of 55, 1305 instead of 1405).
ation, to be independent from calculation. Processes The combination of lexical primitives leads to the
dealing with numbers are very often transcoding formation of complex numerals. Complex numerals
processes, that transform a number from a given can be conceived as multiplicative-additive structures
representational format into another format. Thus, that can be described as sequences of embeddings of
in the contemporary Western culture (other codes, multiplicative and additive relationships. Thus every
e.g., the Roman code, have been used or are used in nonprimitive number is build up by the application of
other cultures), a task like reading aloud presupposes syntactic rules (Power and Dal Martello, 1990): the
transcoding Arabic or alphabetically written numbers concatenation rule and the overwriting rule. The
into spoken number words; in writing on dictation concatenation rule is applied when the multiplier
the reverse transcoding process is at work. Other (e.g., hundred) is in a product relation with the primi-
common transcoding tasks are, for example, number tives (e.g., five hundred [5  100]), while the over-
repetition or number transformation from one code writing rule is applied when the multiplier is in a
into the other (e.g., three into 3 or vice versa). How sum relation (e.g., hundred and five [100 5]) with
does the cognitive system perform such tasks? the primitive numbers. Evidence of these distinct
Patients committing revealing patterns of errors in mechanisms comes from both developmental and
these tasks have been described. The most interesting neuropsychological studies. The overwriting rule is
findings concern two main types of transcoding generally more difficult to apply, and in some cases
errors: lexical and syntactic errors (Deloche and are the almost exclusive type of error, but cases have
Seron, 1982). These errors most often cooccur but been described with relatively more errors involving
are sometimes observed in relative isolation from the concatenation rule.
each other, reflecting independent lexical and Syntactic errors are thus errors whereby the power
syntactic processing mechanisms. of 10 is wrong with respect to the target and are often
The number lexicon constitutes the collection violations of the concatenation (e.g., 610043 instead
of the symbols and of simple number words. The of 643) or of the overwriting rules (60043 instead
number syntax, shown, on the basis of neuropsycho- of 643); deletions of one or more zeros also occur
logical dissociations, to be independent from lan- (46 instead of 406) or deletions of a multiplier
guage syntax, defines the set of acceptable structures (1305 instead of 5305). A recently described pa-
formed by combining the basic lexical elements. A se- tient (Grana` et al., 2003) directed the attention of
mantic component in the system allows attribution researchers to an important distinction, that be-
of meaning to each sequence. tween lexical zeros and syntactic zeros, the errors the
The verbal numeral system is composed of different patient made were exclusively on syntactic zeros.
lexical primitives (i.e., words) organized in four dif- Lexical zeros are semantically derived zeros, like
ferent classes: the Units or Ones (from one to nine), those in tens (e.g., the zero in 20, and the first zero
734 Numbers: Calculation

in 20104), that originate from a numerical concept, An independently stored system containing over-
while syntactic zeros are syntactically produced as the learned, quickly retrievable single digit problems
result of syntactic rules, a concatenation rule plus an (arithmetical facts) is also thought to be acting in
overwriting rule, leaving one or more intermediary calculation (Ashcraft, 1992). This system is subject
zeros (e.g., the zeros in 12004). Syntactic zeros are to the widely investigated problem-size effect, which
thus more difficult to manipulate. refers to the observation that difficulty of simple
Number manipulation deficits can selectively con- arithmetic combinations generally increases with
cern both production and comprehension and numerical size. Arithmetical facts, vis-a`-vis neuropsy-
the Arabic or the verbal code. Patients have been chological evidence, seem to be segregated accord-
reported with selective deficits for particular numbers ing to the type of operation. Thus patients are there,
such as 7 or 9. One still-debated point is whether for example, with selective disturbances of table facts
or not number transcoding and calculation necessari- only. This segregation appears also at the level of more
ly imply semantic mediation via a central abstract complex operations (Cipolotti and van Harskamp,
semantic representation and whether asemantic, 2001). Disturbances of arithmetical facts can occur
code-specific routes exist besides the semantic one both in the memory storage and in the retrieval.
(different models have been proposed on this sub- Arithmetical rules are distinct from facts and in-
ject: McCloskey, 1992; Campbell and Clark, 1992; clude problems where one of the elements (e.g., the
Cipolotti and Butterworth, 1995; Seron and Noel, multiplier or the addend) can be substituted by any
1995; for reviews see Noel, 2001 and Cipolotti and number (for example, n 1, n  1, n  1, n/1, n 0,
van Harskamp, 2001). n  0, n  0). Rules involving zero are particularly
The nature of the semantic representation is also difficult to learn and can be selectively disturbed.
controversial. While, for instance, McCloskey (1992) Arithmetical procedures, concerning the algo-
assumed a precise representation even for large num- rithms necessary for each type of operation, are
bers, Dehaene and Cohen (1995) hypothesized an also stored independently from each other. As a con-
analogue magnitude representation coding for ap- sequence, acquired disturbances of procedures consti-
proximate quantity. The existence of this last repre- tute a rather heterogeneous picture and selective
sentation and of a spatial mental number line would deficits of multiplication or subtraction only have
be documented by the SNARC (Spatial-Numerical been described. Work on normal learners (Van
Association of Response Codes) effect (Dehaene Lehn, 1986) highlighted systematic, consistent errors
et al., 1993), whereby, within a given interval, smaller known as bugs at certain points of the proce-
numbers tend to be preferentially responded to with dure. Semenza et al. (1997) on the basis of selective
the left hand, whereas the reverse is true for large cases, also distinguished memory problems for the
numbers. This effect has been shown to hold at least procedural algorithm (typically resulting in systemat-
with one-digit numbers, and in speakers of languages ic misapplication of some specific rule) and monitor-
that are written from the left to the right, whereas ing problems, deriving from the inability to devote
the effect is inverted in speakers of languages with attention and keep track of each specific step in the
right-to-left writing. procedure. Thus, while memory patients (Girelli and
Ordinality and cardinality were also shown to dis- Delazer, 1996) commit, just like normals, errors of
sociate in patients. A selective impairment with num- the bug type, monitoring patients, while always start-
ber cardinality has in fact been reported: this patient ing the operation in the correct way, would then make
could correctly order any sequence of numbers, while an increasing and inconsistent number of errors of
unable to add 1 to a given number! all sorts, have little awareness about the precision of
With respect to the number system, the calcu- the performance and end the operation with difficul-
lation system is relatively less studied. However, ty. It has been recently suggested the possibility that
with a major contribution from neuropsychology, selective right hemisphere lesions might compromise
the relatively independent domains of arithmetical the ability to use a spatially based schema that, in
signs, arithmetical number facts and rules, calcula- complex operations, would help in keeping the single
tion procedures, approximate calculation, and con- substeps together by representing the information of
ceptual knowledge have been investigated to a large where exactly each substep should be placed. This
extent. theory is argued to be in line with proposals made
An independent system for arithmetical signs is sug- by psychologists in the early decades of last century
gested by the relatively rare finding of patients unable (see Hartje, 1987 for a review).
to understand and name arithmetical signs and While the application of procedural knowledge
performing otherwise correct calculation according does not require conceptual understanding of each
to their misidentification. step of the procedure and is applied only in already
Numbers: Calculation 735

familiar tasks, what has been called conceptual Dehaene S & Cohen L (1995). Towards an anatomical and
knowledge (Hittmair-Delazer et al., 1994), in con- functional model of number processing. Mathematical
trast, implies understanding of arithmetical opera- Cognition 1, 83120.
tions, and the laws and principles pertaining to Dehaene S, Bossini S & Giraux P (1993). The mental repre-
sentation of parity and numerical magnitude. Journal of
these operations. Also labeled adaptive expertise,
Experimental Psychology: General 122(3), 371396.
it may or may not be explicitly known as such to Dehaene S, Piazza M, Pinel P et al. (2003). Three
the calculator, it allows one to make inferences parietal circuits for number processing. Cognitive
and can be flexibly adapted to new tasks. Examples Neuropsychology 20(36), 487506.
of this sort of knowledge are potentially infinite. Delazer M, Girelli L, Grana` A et al. (2003). Number
Delazers et al. (2003) battery for the evaluation processing and calculation: normative data from healthy
of mathematical deficits, for example, includes the adults. Clinical Neuropsychologist 17(3), 331350.
following principles, allowing a calculator to answer Delazer M, Girelli L, Semenza C et al. (1999). Numerical
the question given X, what is the result of Y?: the skills and aphasia. Journal of the International Neuro-
commutativity principle (e.g., X: 22  31 682; psychological Society 5(3), 213221.
Y: 31  22 ?), repeated addition (12  4 48; Deloche G & Seron X (1982). From one to 1: an analysis of
a transcoding process by means of neuropsychological
12 12 12 12 ?), 10a  10b (45  8 360;
data. Cognition 12(2), 119149.
450  80 ?), a1  b (94  5 470; 93  5 ?), Fuson K C (1988). Childrens counting and concepts of
multiplication/division invariance (71  9 639; number. New York: Springer-Verlag Publishing.
639/9 ?). Such knowledge is independent from Gelman R & Gallistel C R (1978). The childs understand-
other mathematical notions and abilities. Hittmair- ing of number. Oxford, England: Harvard University
Delazer and coworkers described patients unable to Press.
retrieve number facts who brightly used their residual Gelman R & Gallistel C R (1992). Preverbal and verbal
knowledge to overcome their difficulties with tables counting and computation. Cognition 44, 4374.
(e.g., 7  8 ?; 7  10 70; 7  2 14; 70  14 56), Girelli L & Delazer M (1996). Subtraction bugs in an
or, while unable to solve facts as simple as 3 2 5, acalculic patient. Cortex 32(3), 547555.
had no difficulty with algebraic expressions such Grana` A, Lochy A, Girelli L et al. (2003). Transcoding
zeros within complex numerals. Neuropsychologia
as (ac bc)/c a b! Conversely, there are patients
41(12), 16111618.
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showing no understanding of mathematical concepts metical skills. In Deloche G & Seron X (eds.) Mathemat-
whatsoever. ical disabilities. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum
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Semenza C, Miceli L & Girelli L (1997). A deficit for Van Lehn K (1986). Arithmetic procedures are
arithmetical procedures: lack of knowledge or a lack of induced from examples. In Hiebert J (ed.) Conceptual
monitoring? Cortex 33, 483498. and procedural knowledge: the case of mathematics.
Semenza C, Delazer M, Bartha L et al. (2004). Mathemat- Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 133179.
ics in right hemisphere aphasia: a case series study. Brain Wynn K (1990). Childrens understanding of counting.
and Language 91, 164165. Cognition 36(2), 155193.
Seron X & Noe l M P (1995). Transcoding numbers from Wynn K (1998). Numerical competence in infants. In
the Arabic code to the verbal one or vice versa: how many Donlan C (ed.) Development of mathematical skills.
routes? Mathematical Cognition 1, 215245. Hove, England: Psychology Press/Taylor & Francis. 325.

Numerals
J Gvozdanovic, Universitat Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Grouping of entities is an essential feature of
Germany number systems, with the effect of establishing bases
2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (in addition to digits such as 1). Across cultures,
primitive counting on fingers and toes led to the
establishment of the group of 5 symbolized by a
Numeral Systems: Their Structure and hand as a basis for further counting. Significantly,
Development counting on fingers and toes operates with the base
Quantification is essential for our cognition of the of 5 (i.e., five fingers or a hand), the base of 10
world. To quantify is to establish the limits of an (i.e., two hands), and the base of 20 (i.e., fingers and
entity in a relative way. Each entity is defined by its toes or hands and feet). Contemporary examples in
limits and identified by the relativity of its limits. It is active use are found in Papua New Guinea, where,
discrete. For example, a piece of sugar is a discrete e.g., the Aghu language symbolizes 5 by the word
entity, which can have further spatial properties not for hand, whereas Kombai, Korowai, and Wambon
attributable to its source, the amorphous mass of symbolize 5 by the word for thumb. Similar systems
sugar. are found, e.g., in Mullukmulluk in Australia (cf.
Discreteness emerges from quantification. Discrete Greenberg, 1978: 257) and in Bantawa in east Nepal
entities can be grouped together so as to form sets. (where the numeral for 5 is u. kchuk one hand, 10
Sets can be homogeneous or heterogeneous; they can is hu. achuk two hands, and 20 is re kachuk four
contain many entities or be empty, yet they always hands; cf. Gvozdanovic , 1985: 137). Many systems
have clear limits. By having clear limits, a set is an known as advanced started from a quinary base, for
entity, too, an entity of a higher order. example, Sumerian from the 4th millennium B.C. in
Set formation presupposes entities, themselves a Mesopotamia (Table 1).
cognitive product of either quantification or (if the Comparative studies of Indo-European have shown
entities have already been quantified) identification. that Proto-Indo-European (PIE) words for 5 and 10
The primary act of set formation involves abstraction are also based on counting by hand. Thus, PIE
from all but a classifying property. An example is *penkw(e) 5 is connected, e.g., with Old
found in tally sticks with notches on bones, which High German (OHG) fu st and Russian pjast fist,
originated in Africa around 37 000 years B.C. and
in Europe some millennia later. The notches repre- Table 1 Sumerian numerals above 5 composed with the
sent quantified entities; the tally stick contains a set base 5a
(Figure 1).
Number Sumerian Number Sumerian numeral
Counting is based on classification, accumulation, numeral
and grouping. Cognitive units of counting are numbers;
their symbolic expressions in language are numerals. 1 dis, as 6 as < *ia as (5 1)
2 min 7 imin < *ia min (5 2)
3 es 8 ussu < *ia es (5 3)
4 limmu 9 ilimmu < *ia limmu
(5 4)
5 ia 10 u
Figure 1 African tally stick (37 000 B.C.), probably representing
a
the moon cycle (29 notches). Cf. Justus (1996).
736 Numbers: Calculation

Semenza C, Miceli L & Girelli L (1997). A deficit for Van Lehn K (1986). Arithmetic procedures are
arithmetical procedures: lack of knowledge or a lack of induced from examples. In Hiebert J (ed.) Conceptual
monitoring? Cortex 33, 483498. and procedural knowledge: the case of mathematics.
Semenza C, Delazer M, Bartha L et al. (2004). Mathemat- Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 133179.
ics in right hemisphere aphasia: a case series study. Brain Wynn K (1990). Childrens understanding of counting.
and Language 91, 164165. Cognition 36(2), 155193.
Seron X & Noel M P (1995). Transcoding numbers from Wynn K (1998). Numerical competence in infants. In
the Arabic code to the verbal one or vice versa: how many Donlan C (ed.) Development of mathematical skills.
routes? Mathematical Cognition 1, 215245. Hove, England: Psychology Press/Taylor & Francis. 325.

Numerals
J Gvozdanovic, Universitat Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Grouping of entities is an essential feature of
Germany number systems, with the effect of establishing bases
2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (in addition to digits such as 1). Across cultures,
primitive counting on fingers and toes led to the
establishment of the group of 5 symbolized by a
Numeral Systems: Their Structure and hand as a basis for further counting. Significantly,
Development counting on fingers and toes operates with the base
Quantification is essential for our cognition of the of 5 (i.e., five fingers or a hand), the base of 10
world. To quantify is to establish the limits of an (i.e., two hands), and the base of 20 (i.e., fingers and
entity in a relative way. Each entity is defined by its toes or hands and feet). Contemporary examples in
limits and identified by the relativity of its limits. It is active use are found in Papua New Guinea, where,
discrete. For example, a piece of sugar is a discrete e.g., the Aghu language symbolizes 5 by the word
entity, which can have further spatial properties not for hand, whereas Kombai, Korowai, and Wambon
attributable to its source, the amorphous mass of symbolize 5 by the word for thumb. Similar systems
sugar. are found, e.g., in Mullukmulluk in Australia (cf.
Discreteness emerges from quantification. Discrete Greenberg, 1978: 257) and in Bantawa in east Nepal
entities can be grouped together so as to form sets. (where the numeral for 5 is u. kchuk one hand, 10
Sets can be homogeneous or heterogeneous; they can is hu. achuk two hands, and 20 is re kachuk four
contain many entities or be empty, yet they always hands; cf. Gvozdanovic, 1985: 137). Many systems
have clear limits. By having clear limits, a set is an known as advanced started from a quinary base, for
entity, too, an entity of a higher order. example, Sumerian from the 4th millennium B.C. in
Set formation presupposes entities, themselves a Mesopotamia (Table 1).
cognitive product of either quantification or (if the Comparative studies of Indo-European have shown
entities have already been quantified) identification. that Proto-Indo-European (PIE) words for 5 and 10
The primary act of set formation involves abstraction are also based on counting by hand. Thus, PIE
from all but a classifying property. An example is *penkw(e) 5 is connected, e.g., with Old
found in tally sticks with notches on bones, which High German (OHG) fust and Russian pjast fist,
originated in Africa around 37 000 years B.C. and
in Europe some millennia later. The notches repre- Table 1 Sumerian numerals above 5 composed with the
sent quantified entities; the tally stick contains a set base 5a
(Figure 1).
Number Sumerian Number Sumerian numeral
Counting is based on classification, accumulation, numeral
and grouping. Cognitive units of counting are numbers;
their symbolic expressions in language are numerals. 1 dis, as 6 as < *ia as (5 1)
2 min 7 imin < *ia min (5 2)
3 es 8 ussu < *ia es (5 3)
4 limmu 9 ilimmu < *ia limmu
(5 4)
5 ia 10 u
Figure 1 African tally stick (37 000 B.C.), probably representing
a
the moon cycle (29 notches). Cf. Justus (1996).
Numerals 737

originally referring to the hand clenched to form a fist . addition (e.g., French dix-neuf ten-nine, i.e., 19),
as a symbol of five (cf. Winter, 1992: 17), whereas . subtraction (e.g., Latin un-de-viginti one-off-twen-
PIE *de 10 has been reconstructed as *de- ty, i.e., 19); it implies the existence of addition
two hands, and * om < d om 100 as either (every minuend is a base of the system or a multiple
the genitive plural of the neuter collective noun of a base; a subtrahend is never larger than the
*d - (i.e., * d d om a decade of decades, remainder);
cf. Szemere nyi, 1960: 139140), or a derivative with . multiplication (e.g., English fifty [5  10]); it
to-, signifying the limiting point in the series of implies the existence of addition (a rare exception
decades (cf. Coleman, 1992: 404). Indeed, the base is found in a subgroup of the Yuman languages,
of 100 was the highest decimal base in Proto-Indo- affiliated to the Hokan stock, which has the first
European (as the reconstruction of 1000 *ghes-lo- decade only, analyzed as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 3  2,
on the basis of Aryan and Greek fails to account 7, 4  2, 3  3, 10);
for the other Indo-European languages; cf. also . division (e.g., Welsh hanner cunt half hundred,
Szemere nyi, 1960: 1). i.e., 50); it implies the existence of multiplication
Historically seen, the development of advanced nu- (division is expressed as multiplication by a frac-
meral systems was connected with astronomy, geome- tion, and the denominator of the fraction is always
try, and calendar construction, in addition to stock 2 or a power of 2);
administration and trade. This applies to the ancient . (rarely) overcounting (e.g., older Danish halv-tred-
Egyptian decimal system (since the 5th millennium B.C.) sinds-tyve half-third-time-twenty, i.e., 50) and
as well as to the Sumerian and later Akkadian and going-on operation (e.g., in Mayan and in Finno-
Babylonian sexagesimal system (cf., e.g., Neugebauer, Ugric, cf. Ostyak 18 as (8 going-on 20));
1947: 37 concerning the calculation of lunar phases). . exponentiation (e.g., Sumerian ges 60, sa`r 3600,
Apart from bases of unrestricted productivity, ru- sa`r-gal sa`r-big 216,000).
dimentary bases have been recorded, for example,
Bases show up as significant boundaries in lan-
in duodecimal counting of Benue-Congo languages
guage decay, at least at intermediate stages. This
(involving a base of 12), later replaced by a decimal
may be illustrated by the Tibeto-Burman languages
system, or in Sora, a Munda language (cf. Greenberg,
of Nepal (cf. Gvozdanovic, 1985: 136), which have
1978: 270) (related to it were probably also the
been overlayered by the (Indo-European) standard
big hundreds transitionally present in Northern
language Nepali, but have preserved their original
Germanic [equalling 120]). Smaller rudimentary
numerals either up to the fundamental base 5 (sym-
bases have been attested in rural communities, such
bolized by one hand or by the Proto-Tibeto-Burman
as base 4 in Barbareno (a Chumash language of
form ngaji) or up to 3. The observed regularity
California; cf. Comrie, 1999: 89), in Tunisian, or in
demonstrates the cognitive relevance of numeral
Celtic (cf. Justus, 1999: 61 f.). Yuman languages of
bases.
Southern California, Arizona, and Baja California,
next to Coahulteco a Hokan language, provide
Morphology and Syntax of Numeral
examples of limited use of the base 3. A rudimentary
Expressions
base 2 is found in the central Wintun branch of
Californian Penutian (cf. Greenberg, 1978: 279). Ru- Numeral morphosyntax shows a combination of
dimentary bases coexist with productive bases, usually mathematical and linguistic properties, relating to
of later origin. semantic, morphosyntactic, and pragmatic levels.
The lowest productive base by which all higher For numeral morphosyntax Hurford (1987) formu-
productive bases can be divided is called fundamental lated a so-called packing-strategy principle that
(cf. Greenberg, 1978: 270). Apart from the rare ex- states that complex numeral expressions are formed
ceptional types mentioned above, languages are clas- by combining the highest-valued simpler numerals
sified by their fundamental bases as quinary (with the available (e.g., the French numeral for 70 is soixante
fundamental base 5), decimal (with the fundamental dix [60 10], not *cinquante-vingt [50 20] or
base 10), vigesimal (with the fundamental base 20), *quarante trente [40 30]). The point at which a
or sexagesimal (with the fundamental base 60). language changes methods for signaling addition is
The capacity to undergo recursive mathematical as a rule indicative of a base break. It is typical of
operations makes bases into the backbone of numer- Indo-European that such a break occurs between the
al systems. The relevant operations and their asym- -teens (cf. English thirteennineteen, expressed as
metrical implications (in the sense of Greenbergs digit base) and the upper decades (starting from
hierarchies (1978: 257272) are the following: 20, regionally limited also above 60). Outside of
738 Numerals

Indo-European, pattern discontinuity may be illus- . the order noun-numeral is favored in indefinite and
trated by Hebrew, where the numeral plurals of 3 approximative constructions (Greenberg, 1978:
to 9 denote the corresponding decades 30 to 90, 284);
but the plural of 10 denotes 20. The next-higher . predicate agreement with quantified subjects above
base is 100, for which Hebrew has a separate noun, the cut-off point around three or four mentioned
me a. above is sensitive to animacy and topicality: the
Numeral bases are treated differently from digits. singular agreement is preferred with inanimate
In systems with more than one base, there is a base and non-topical subjects, the plural agreement
above which certain regularities hold, e.g., complex with animate and topical subjects.
expressions consist of a product and a remainder, and
Although quantification takes effect in the logical
the remainder never has a value larger than the next
structure of language, its morphology and syntax
lower base of the total expression (cf. French soixante
depend in part on pragmatics. This shows that quan-
douze 72, i.e., 60 12 is possible because the next
tification permeates all the central levels of language.
lower base is 20).
Numeral syntax is usually highly complex, and
only a part of this complexity is directly connected See also: Classifiers and Noun Classes: Semantics;
with numeral morphology. Typologically interesting Number.
is the tendency of the numeral to precede the noun if
the descriptive adjective is also in the preceding posi-
tion, as opposed to variation in the position of the Bibliography
numeral when the adjective follows the noun. An Coleman R (1992). Italic. In Gvozdanovic J (ed.) Indo-
example of the latter is found in Malay, in which the European numerals. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
descriptive adjective regularly follows the noun, but Comrie B (1999). Haruai numerals and their implications
the numeral and the classifier may be placed either for the history and typology of numeral systems. In
before or after the noun (the latter option seems to be Gvozdanovic J (ed.) Numeral types and changes world-
pragmatically marked). wide. 8194.
Numeral morphosyntax exhibits a set of further Corbett G G (1983). Hierarchies, targets and controllers;
regularities: agreement patterns in Slavic. London: Croom Helm.
Corbett G G (1993). The head of Russian nominal expres-
. the numeral one is syntactically an attribute of its sions. In Corbett G G, Fraser N M & McGlashan S (eds.)
denominator; Heads in grammatical theory. Cambridge: Cambridge
. numerals expressing bases either are syntactic University Press. 1135.
heads or share headedness with their denominator Cowan N (2001). The magical number 4 in short-term
(cf. Hebrew, in which these numerals have inherent memory: A reconsideration of mental storage capacity.
gender); in the development of Indo-European, the Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24(1), 87114.
Greenberg J H (1978). Generalizations about numeral
lower bases have arguably developed from adjec-
systems. In Greenberg J H (ed.) Universals of human
tives to nouns; language, vol. 3: Word structure. Stanford: Stanford
. the numerals two, three, and four have an inter- University Press. 249295.
mediate status; they may differentiate gender; lan- Gvozdanovic J (1985). Language system and its change; on
guages with grammatical dual have a special theory and testability. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
treatment of two; Gvozdanovic J (ed.) (1992). Indo-European numerals.
. many languages have discontinuity of expression Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
around the numerals three and four, relating Gvozdanovic J (ed.) (1999). Numeral types and changes
especially to distinct marking for gender, case, in- world-wide. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
definiteness, or word order; these phenomena are Gvozdanovic J (1999). Types of numeral changes. In
presumably related to short-term memory limita- Gvozdanovic J (ed.). 95111.
Halle M (1994). The morphology of numeral phrases. In
tions (cf. Cowan, 2001);
Avrutin S, Franks S & Progovac L (eds.) Formal
. in rule-governed variation between the singular
approaches to [Slavic] linguistics. Ann Arbor: Michigan
and the plural with numerals, the singular is fa- Slavic Publications. 176215.
vored with higher numbers, in measure construc- Hurford J R (1975). The linguistic theory of numerals.
tions, in indefinite constructions, and with nouns Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
that are inanimate or impersonal (Greenberg, Hurford J R (1987). Language and number; the emergence
1978: 283); of a cognitive system. Oxford: B. Blackwell.
Numerical Notation 739

Ifrah G (1981). Histoire Universelle des Chiffres. Paris: Neugebauer O (1947). Studies in ancient astronomy.
Seghers. VIII. The water clock in Babylonian astronomy. ISIS 37,
Justus C F (1996). Numeracy and the Germanic upper 1, 3743.
decades. Journal of Indo-European Studies 24, 4580. Szemere nyi O (1960). Studies in the Indo-European system
Justus C F (1999). Pre-decimal structures in counting and of numerals. Heidelberg: Winter.
metrology. In Gvozdanovic J (ed.). 5579. Winter W (1992). Some thoughts about Indo-European
Menninger K (1934). Zahlwort und Ziffer. Breslau: Ferdi- numerals. In Gvozdanovic J (ed.). 1128.
nand Hirt.

Numerical Notation
J Lawler, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA and almost all cultures practice counting and other
2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. mathematical activities. The written representation
of quantities and numbers is as old as, and
Notation is a conventional written system for encod- may even predate and prefigure (see Schmandt-
ing a formal axiomatic system. Notation governs Besserat, 1992; Zimansky, 1993), writing itself.
After alphabetic writing was developed, it was
. the rules for assignment of written symbols to ele- normal to use individual letters to represent particu-
ments of the axiomatic system; lar numbers in an additive system such as Roman
. the writing and interpretation rules for well-formed numerals, where, for instance, MDCCVII represents
formulae in the axiomatic system; 1000 500 100 100 5 1 1, or 1707. Simi-
. the derived writing and interpretation rules for lar systems existed for ancient Greek and Hebrew;
representing transformations of formulae, in accor- even after the widespread use of Hindu/Arabic
dance with the rules of deduction in the axiomatic numerals, the Hebrew system of alphabetic number
system. representation survived as a Kabbalistic numerologi-
All formal systems impose notational conventions on cal system known as Gematriya, in which the number
the forms. Just as in natural language, to some extent associated with any Hebrew word has gnostic signifi-
such conventions are matters of style and politics, cance. See Ifrah (1991: ch. 2) in Barrow (1992),
even defining group affiliation. Thus, notational con- and Pettersson (1996) for history. The Hindu/Arabic
ventions display sociolinguistic variation; alternate numerals, with their positional notation, were origi-
conventions are often in competing use, though nally developed in India during the Gupta empire and
there is usually substantial agreement on a classical spread to the Muslim world, whence they made their
core notation taught to neophytes. way to Europe after the Crusades. In positional nota-
Excluding logic (see Logical and Linguistic Nota- tion, the position of each numeral in a series indicates
tion), mathematics as a whole is divided into three the power of the base that it enumerates; thus, 1707
parts, of which one is algebra (roughly, the realm of in base ten represents (1  103) (7  102)
the discrete, including number theory and combina- (0  101) (7  100). Such a notation (including
torics), another geometry (roughly, the realm of zero, which is necessary for it to work) represents an
the visibly codable, including topology), and the enormous advance in numeration over additive sys-
third what ordinary people call calculus, but which tems, because it makes possible algorithmic calcula-
is spoken of by mathematicians as analysis (roughly, tions such as long division.
the realm of the continuous, including statistics, dif- Hindu/Arabic numerals in base ten are all but uni-
ferential and integral calculus, theory of functions, versal in the writing systems of the modern world.
and complex variables). All these areas overlap and While the decimal (base ten) system is the norm, in
grow into one another fractally; in particular, they principle any numeric base can be used, and several
crucially involve the concept of number. have been: the Babylonian numeric system was sexa-
gesimal (base 60, from which we inherit the 360
circle and the 60-minute hour); the Mayan system
Numbers and Arithmetic Symbols
was vigesimal (base 20); vestiges of a duodecimal
Though there appear to be some cultures where (base 12) system remain in English vocabulary
counting and numbers are unknown (see Everett, (dozen, gross); and several systems based on powers
2005), almost all languages contain some numbers, of 2 binary (base 2, digits 0 and 1), octal (base 23,
Numerical Notation 739

Ifrah G (1981). Histoire Universelle des Chiffres. Paris: Neugebauer O (1947). Studies in ancient astronomy.
Seghers. VIII. The water clock in Babylonian astronomy. ISIS 37,
Justus C F (1996). Numeracy and the Germanic upper 1, 3743.
decades. Journal of Indo-European Studies 24, 4580. Szemerenyi O (1960). Studies in the Indo-European system
Justus C F (1999). Pre-decimal structures in counting and of numerals. Heidelberg: Winter.
metrology. In Gvozdanovic J (ed.). 5579. Winter W (1992). Some thoughts about Indo-European
Menninger K (1934). Zahlwort und Ziffer. Breslau: Ferdi- numerals. In Gvozdanovic J (ed.). 1128.
nand Hirt.

Numerical Notation
J Lawler, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA and almost all cultures practice counting and other
2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. mathematical activities. The written representation
of quantities and numbers is as old as, and
Notation is a conventional written system for encod- may even predate and prefigure (see Schmandt-
ing a formal axiomatic system. Notation governs Besserat, 1992; Zimansky, 1993), writing itself.
After alphabetic writing was developed, it was
. the rules for assignment of written symbols to ele- normal to use individual letters to represent particu-
ments of the axiomatic system; lar numbers in an additive system such as Roman
. the writing and interpretation rules for well-formed numerals, where, for instance, MDCCVII represents
formulae in the axiomatic system; 1000 500 100 100 5 1 1, or 1707. Simi-
. the derived writing and interpretation rules for lar systems existed for ancient Greek and Hebrew;
representing transformations of formulae, in accor- even after the widespread use of Hindu/Arabic
dance with the rules of deduction in the axiomatic numerals, the Hebrew system of alphabetic number
system. representation survived as a Kabbalistic numerologi-
All formal systems impose notational conventions on cal system known as Gematriya, in which the number
the forms. Just as in natural language, to some extent associated with any Hebrew word has gnostic signifi-
such conventions are matters of style and politics, cance. See Ifrah (1991: ch. 2) in Barrow (1992),
even defining group affiliation. Thus, notational con- and Pettersson (1996) for history. The Hindu/Arabic
ventions display sociolinguistic variation; alternate numerals, with their positional notation, were origi-
conventions are often in competing use, though nally developed in India during the Gupta empire and
there is usually substantial agreement on a classical spread to the Muslim world, whence they made their
core notation taught to neophytes. way to Europe after the Crusades. In positional nota-
Excluding logic (see Logical and Linguistic Nota- tion, the position of each numeral in a series indicates
tion), mathematics as a whole is divided into three the power of the base that it enumerates; thus, 1707
parts, of which one is algebra (roughly, the realm of in base ten represents (1  103) (7  102)
the discrete, including number theory and combina- (0  101) (7  100). Such a notation (including
torics), another geometry (roughly, the realm of zero, which is necessary for it to work) represents an
the visibly codable, including topology), and the enormous advance in numeration over additive sys-
third what ordinary people call calculus, but which tems, because it makes possible algorithmic calcula-
is spoken of by mathematicians as analysis (roughly, tions such as long division.
the realm of the continuous, including statistics, dif- Hindu/Arabic numerals in base ten are all but uni-
ferential and integral calculus, theory of functions, versal in the writing systems of the modern world.
and complex variables). All these areas overlap and While the decimal (base ten) system is the norm, in
grow into one another fractally; in particular, they principle any numeric base can be used, and several
crucially involve the concept of number. have been: the Babylonian numeric system was sexa-
gesimal (base 60, from which we inherit the 360
circle and the 60-minute hour); the Mayan system
Numbers and Arithmetic Symbols
was vigesimal (base 20); vestiges of a duodecimal
Though there appear to be some cultures where (base 12) system remain in English vocabulary
counting and numbers are unknown (see Everett, (dozen, gross); and several systems based on powers
2005), almost all languages contain some numbers, of 2 binary (base 2, digits 0 and 1), octal (base 23,
740 Numerical Notation

digits 07), and hexadecimal (base 24, digits 09 plus While first and second derivatives are still quite com-
AF) are in common use in computing contexts. monly indicated with prime marks, replication of dots
By contrast with the numerals, all of the usual and primes becomes difficult when speaking of higher
symbols for arithmetic operations (, , , ) are derivatives, or when using a variable. Leibnizs nota-
of European origin, originating among a congeries tion, unlike Newtons, used a ratio between the differ-
of symbols used between the 15th and 17th centuries. entials dy and dx (infinitesimal increments in y and x)
is simply the stylized letter T of et, an early amper- to represent the derivative. Second and higher deriva-
sand. The symbol for division (), now seen as an tives are indicated by exponents on the differentials;
obvious mnemonic of the fraction notation with a thus f 0 (x) dy=dx, and f 00 x d2 y=dx2 , producing a
horizontal bar introduced by the Arabs, was in fact natural operator notation d/dx for differentiation, in
originally used in Europe for subtraction, and it is contrast to Newtons notation, which did not lend itself
from this sign that the modern  sign comes. Finally, to such generalization.
 is only one of several symbols for multiplication, For integrals Leibniz used a special operator, the
introduced and promoted by William Oughtred long-S integral symbol f(x) dx. The differential dx
(15741660) in the Clavis Mathematicae (1631). after the function in this notation is a mnemonic
Other multiplication notation in use today includes for multiplication, just as the ratio between differen-
the raised dot (a  b), which Leibniz preferred, and tials symbolizes division in the derivative notation.
simple juxtaposition (ab), which appears to have Leibnizs convention recalls the fundamental theorem
been the original notation in India, dating from the of calculus (i.e., derivative and integral are inverses)
10th century and appearing sporadically in Arabic by use of the inverse operations multiplication and
and European sources afterward. By the 18th century, division to represent them; by contrast, Newtons
these symbols had become general in European notation was arbitrary and had no mnemonic value.
mathematical notation. Following the invention of the calculus, mathe-
matics endured for several centuries a disconnect be-
tween axiomatic theory and actual practice. Calculus
Other Symbols
worked, for reasons which mathematicians could not
Mathematics is a gigantic intellectual area, famously explain, and about which engineers did not care.
unapproachable by the uninitiated, replete with mul- The result was that practice got very far ahead
tiple notational conventions and the materials and of axiomatic theory, until at the beginning of the
will to invent new ones. Considering the size of the 19th century, mathematicians resolved to put such
field and the elaborate profusion of its notation, this axiomatization at the front of their goals.
article can do no more within its space constraints By axiomatization, mathematicians mean the es-
than touch on the notations of several areas (besides tablishment of a system of undefined elements,
logic) that impinge on natural language, and remark axioms, and rules of inference for deriving theorems
on general notational tendencies in mathematics. from the axioms, based on the model of Euclidean
One example is the notation used in modern inte- geometry, which for millennia has stood as the exem-
gral and differential calculus, which descends from plar of pure mathematical thought. This is what is
Leibnizs original invention in the 17th century; meant in mathematics as a formal system; in linguis-
Newton famously invented calculus independently tics this term has a different sense, since linguists do
before Leibniz, but published later. More importantly not establish axioms or prove theorems.
for our purpose, he used a different notation which, The most significant area of mathematics in this
while patriotically employed in English mathematics axiomatization effort has been set theory, which
for the next century, proved awkward and was now, as a result of the 19th-century work, is taken
eventually abandoned for Leibnizian differentials. to underlie all areas of mathematics and logic. Set
The basic concepts in calculus are the derivative of theory has only three undefined terms: set, element
a function y f(x) and its integral. The derivative is of a set, and inclusion in a set. These are universally
another function f 0 whose value at any point x is the symbolized with capital letters to name sets, lower-
instantaneous rate of change with respect to x of case letters to name elements in them, and the relation
the value y of f(x). This function in turn has its own symbol E for set inclusion, thus a E A indicates that a is
derivative f 00 , which is thus the second derivative of f, an element of the set A. Sets may also be specified by
and so on. Newton used overdot y for the derivative. using curly braces, e.g., the set of English vowel let-
The integral of a function is another function whose ters is {a, e, i, o, u}, and the set N of natural numbers is
value represents the area between the curve and an {1, 2, 3, . . .}. Since most interesting sets are infinite,
axis. Newton used overbar y to represent the integral. or at least very large, simple enumeration is rarely
Nuuchahnulth 741

sufficient; thus one finds qualified set descriptions, These, in turn, are mostly based on the basic human
e.g., the set of perfect squares can be described as cognitive activity of predication, instantiated by con-
{x2: x E N}, pronounced the set of all x squared, cepts such as function, operator, or relation, which
such that x is in N. name various symbols and types of sentencelike
From this set convention come all the various uses symbolic syntax in all areas of mathematics and
of parentheses and brackets for inclusion and specifi- logic: a function f(x) is a clause with a predicate and
cation, such as the ordered pair (0, 1) in algebra, argument(s); an equation a b is a topiccomment
which is simply a special set consisting of two ele- clause. All mathematical notation is ultimately pro-
ments in order. Exactly the same notation (0, 1) in nounceable, a subset of written language, though like
topology is used to denote an open set, i.e., the set of Chinese characters it is not language-specific.
all points on a line lying between 0 and 1, but not
including the end-points; if an end-point is included,
the notation changes to a square bracket, so that the See also: Assertion; Mood and Modality in Grammar; Ne-
closed set [0, 1] has a largest and a smallest member, gation; Operators in Semantics and Typed Logics; Panini;
while the open set (0, 1) has neither. In analysis, (0, 1) Predication; Truth Conditional Semantics and Meaning.
following a function symbol such as f implies that f is
a function of two arguments to be applied to 0 and 1.
Fonts play a more important role in mathematical Bibliography
notation than one might expect, given the arbitrari- Barrow J D (1992). Pi in the sky: counting, thinking, and
ness of font choice. The problem in mathematics is being. Boston: Little, Brown.
that there is an infinite number of concepts that one Cajori F (19281929). A history of mathematical notation
might wish to represent with a simple symbol, but (2 vols). Lasalle, IL: Open Court. (Reprinted in 1993
there is a limited number of simple symbols that can (1 vol.). New York: Dover.)
be printed easily. Hence, it is common to mix and Everett D L (2005). Cultural constraints on grammar and
match Latin, Greek, and Fraktur alphabets (among cognition in Piraha : another look at the design features of
others), in boldface, italic, and plain variants, each human language. Current Anthropology, AugOct.
indicating some systematic feature of the concept Ifrah G (2000). The universal history of numbers: from
under discussion. Such use is quite idiosyncratic, prehistory to the invention of the computer (3 vols. 2nd
revised English Edition, originally in French). London:
with considerable individual variation and specific
Havill.
traditions in each subarea. For instance, in relativity Lakoff G & Nun ez R (2000). Where mathematics comes
theory, tensor indices use Greek letters when they from: how the embodied mind brings mathematics into
vary from 0 to 3 and Latin letters when they vary being. New York: Basic Books.
from 1 to 3. Pettersson J S (1996). Numerical notation. In Daniels P T
& Bright W (eds.) The worlds writing systems. New
General Tendencies York: Oxford University Press. 795806.
Schmandt-Besserat D (1992). How writing came about.
Mathematical notation, like all mathematics, is an Austin: University of Texas Press.
exemplification of the grounding metaphors that Zimansky P (1993). Review of Schmandt-Besserat (1992).
structure the field (see Lakoff and Nun ez, 2000). Journal of Field Archaeology 20, 513517.

Nuuchahnulth
J Stonham, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon the vocabulary, with word lists being documented
Tyne, UK by a number of early explorers. The earliest detailed
2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. grammatical investigations include those of Knipe
(1868), Boas (1890), and Sapir (1924). The name
Nuuchahnulth is an anglicized version of nuuc aan u
Nuuchahnulth, also known as Nootka, Nutka, Aht, along the mountains (nuci mountain(s),-a nu
Takhaht, and taataaqsapa, and by the various dia- along: indicates variable length of the vowel).
lect designations, is one of the earliest documented Geographically, the Nuuchahnulth people occupy
languages of Western Canada, with first contact going the west coast of Vancouver Island, from Brookes
back to the 1770s. Early work focused mostly on Peninsula in the north to Bamfield in the south.
Nuuchahnulth 741

sufficient; thus one finds qualified set descriptions, These, in turn, are mostly based on the basic human
e.g., the set of perfect squares can be described as cognitive activity of predication, instantiated by con-
{x2: x E N}, pronounced the set of all x squared, cepts such as function, operator, or relation, which
such that x is in N. name various symbols and types of sentencelike
From this set convention come all the various uses symbolic syntax in all areas of mathematics and
of parentheses and brackets for inclusion and specifi- logic: a function f(x) is a clause with a predicate and
cation, such as the ordered pair (0, 1) in algebra, argument(s); an equation a b is a topiccomment
which is simply a special set consisting of two ele- clause. All mathematical notation is ultimately pro-
ments in order. Exactly the same notation (0, 1) in nounceable, a subset of written language, though like
topology is used to denote an open set, i.e., the set of Chinese characters it is not language-specific.
all points on a line lying between 0 and 1, but not
including the end-points; if an end-point is included,
the notation changes to a square bracket, so that the See also: Assertion; Mood and Modality in Grammar; Ne-
closed set [0, 1] has a largest and a smallest member, gation; Operators in Semantics and Typed Logics; Panini;
while the open set (0, 1) has neither. In analysis, (0, 1) Predication; Truth Conditional Semantics and Meaning.
following a function symbol such as f implies that f is
a function of two arguments to be applied to 0 and 1.
Fonts play a more important role in mathematical Bibliography
notation than one might expect, given the arbitrari- Barrow J D (1992). Pi in the sky: counting, thinking, and
ness of font choice. The problem in mathematics is being. Boston: Little, Brown.
that there is an infinite number of concepts that one Cajori F (19281929). A history of mathematical notation
might wish to represent with a simple symbol, but (2 vols). Lasalle, IL: Open Court. (Reprinted in 1993
there is a limited number of simple symbols that can (1 vol.). New York: Dover.)
be printed easily. Hence, it is common to mix and Everett D L (2005). Cultural constraints on grammar and
match Latin, Greek, and Fraktur alphabets (among cognition in Piraha: another look at the design features of
others), in boldface, italic, and plain variants, each human language. Current Anthropology, AugOct.
indicating some systematic feature of the concept Ifrah G (2000). The universal history of numbers: from
under discussion. Such use is quite idiosyncratic, prehistory to the invention of the computer (3 vols. 2nd
revised English Edition, originally in French). London:
with considerable individual variation and specific
Havill.
traditions in each subarea. For instance, in relativity Lakoff G & Nunez R (2000). Where mathematics comes
theory, tensor indices use Greek letters when they from: how the embodied mind brings mathematics into
vary from 0 to 3 and Latin letters when they vary being. New York: Basic Books.
from 1 to 3. Pettersson J S (1996). Numerical notation. In Daniels P T
& Bright W (eds.) The worlds writing systems. New
General Tendencies York: Oxford University Press. 795806.
Schmandt-Besserat D (1992). How writing came about.
Mathematical notation, like all mathematics, is an Austin: University of Texas Press.
exemplification of the grounding metaphors that Zimansky P (1993). Review of Schmandt-Besserat (1992).
structure the field (see Lakoff and Nunez, 2000). Journal of Field Archaeology 20, 513517.

Nuuchahnulth
J Stonham, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon the vocabulary, with word lists being documented
Tyne, UK by a number of early explorers. The earliest detailed
2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. grammatical investigations include those of Knipe
(1868), Boas (1890), and Sapir (1924). The name
Nuuchahnulth is an anglicized version of nuucaanu
Nuuchahnulth, also known as Nootka, Nutka, Aht, along the mountains (nuci mountain(s),-a nu
Takhaht, and taataaqsapa, and by the various dia- along: indicates variable length of the vowel).
lect designations, is one of the earliest documented Geographically, the Nuuchahnulth people occupy
languages of Western Canada, with first contact going the west coast of Vancouver Island, from Brookes
back to the 1770s. Early work focused mostly on Peninsula in the north to Bamfield in the south.
742 Nuuchahnulth

Table 1 Nuuchahnulth consonant inventory

Labial Alveolar Lateral Alveopalatal Velar/labiovelar Uvular/labiouvular Pharyngeal Glottal

p t k q
p t k q
ko qo
ko qo
s L s x x. h. h
Lo xo x. o h. o
c | c
c | c
m n y w
m n y
w

Nuuchahnulth has a relatively large consonant in- vowels labeled variable length; such vowels appear
ventory as shown in Table 1. Conversely, the vowel long in the first foot of the word, but are short after
system is quite simple, involving just the three vowels, that. These are characteristically Wakashan in nature
/i, u, a/, and a length distinction. There are, in addi- and constitute a special class of vowels.
tion, two mid vowels that are only encountered in Morphologically, Nuuchahnulth is extremely com-
the long variety, /e / and /o /, at least phonologically, plex, with upward of 500 bound derivational mor-
and even then only under certain special circum- phemes, along with numerous inflectional paradigms.
stances, such as in foreign borrowings. Primary stress The creative genius of the language is demonstrated
is predictable and appears on one of the first two by the following words:
syllables of a word, depending on weight.
(2) cicih. aq|mapt crab-apple tree (< cih. sour - aq|
Important morphophonological processes include
inside -mapt plant)
glottalization and lenition, which affect the preceding ciciyupkuk spaghetti (< ciyup intestines -kuk
consonant and depend on the individual suffix trig- resemble)
gering the effect (abbreviations: LOC, locative; DUP, niikmaLiicack guitar (< n ik scratch -maL about -iicu
duplication; SUF, suffix, MOM momentaneous aspect, tool) at strings -cako
NOW contemporaneous, MC momentaneous causativ e,
Morphological processes include reduplication, in-
SUB subordinate, L lengthening, R reduplication. All
fixation, and suffixation, although lexical compound-
data are from Sapirs unpublished fieldnotes, (Sapir,
ing is absent. There is a class of lexical suffixes that
no date), unless otherwise indicated.
requires reduplication of some part of the
(1a) hiitah. ti|si a| root as a concomitant of the attachment (3a),
hita-h. t -i| -si| -a|
in addition to reduplication indicating plurality (3b),
LOC-exit woods-go for[L]-MOM-NOW
distributivity (3c), repetition (3d), and other aspectu-
They started out of the woods.
al categories. In fact, double reduplication may occur
(1b) wiskum
in contexts in which both derivational and inflec-
wisk -um
angry -on the rocks
tional triggers to reduplication cooccur (DISTRIB,
angry on the rocks distributivity; REP, repetition; PASS, passive)
(1c) aayimki|qas (3a) kuukuh. inqiL
aya -miik -i| -qa s DUP-kuh . -inqiL
many -getter of -MC -1S.SUB SUF-hollow -at the ribs [RL]
may I be a getter of many . . . with a hole in the side
(1d) titinkum (3b) taataayi
DUP-ti -nuko -im DUP-taayii
SUF-wipe -at the hand [R] -thing PL-older brother
handwiper older brothers, seniors
(3c) nunupqimLayii at
As can be seen from (1a) and (1b), a glottalizing
DUP-nup -qimL -ayi -at
suffix will trigger glottalization of the preceding DISTRIB-one -classifier -give -PASS
consonant, whereas a nonglottalizing suffix ((1c) He gave a dollar to each.
and (1d)) will not. Other common morphophonolo- (3d) tuuxtuuxoa
gical processes include labialization, delabialization, DUP-tux -(y)a
vowel coalescence, and -epenthesis. One further REP-jump -DUR
morphophonological process involves a class of jumping
Nuuchahnulth 743

Predicates are typically marked for aspect and (7b) iih. iiL |uL c apic
often for location (e.g., -iL in the house, -as on the iih. o -iiL |uL c apac
ground, in the village, and -is on the beach), and very -make good canoe
bear one of a set of paradigmatic mood/person/ He made a really nice canoe.
number suffixes and other possible markers. Tense is (Rose, 1981)
(7c) iih. naak capic
optionally marked on predicates, as is plural for
iih. o -na ko c apac
nouns. Nouns may be marked for number, diminutive,
big -have canoe
augmentative, former/future state, and possession. He has a big canoe.
Syntactically, Nuuchahnulth may be described as (Rose, 1981)
head-initial and head-marking. The most common (7d) ayasuu| nam int ath.
word order is verb initial, either verbsubjectobject aya -sawi| nam int -ath.
or verbobjectsubject, although arguments may be many -die Namint -tribe
omitted. In keeping with its head-marking nature, pos- Many Namint people died.
sessors follow possessees (4a) and relative clauses
Coordination may involve noun phrases, verb
follow their heads (4b):
phrases, or intermediate units and may employ one
iLuk i
(4a) h. aw qoayaciiktaqimL of several conjunctions, including is and uh. is , both

h. awiL-uk i qoayaciik -taqimL meaning and. Subordination is marked by special
chief-POSS DEF wolf -tribe inflectional paradigms and may or may not involve
the chief of the wolves subordinating conjunctions such as ani that, uyi
(4b) Luucsme i yaqoac itq tan a when, etc. There is a marker, - at, which has been
Luucsma- i yaqo-ac - i tq tan a labeled variously passive, switch reference, or dis-
woman-DEF REL-belong to -3S.REL child
course marker. (The debate over the role of this mor-
the woman whose child he was
pheme continues, for which see Kim (2004) and
In the case of relative clauses, there are two types references therein.) For further information on Nuu-
headed (4b), involving either yaqo who(m) or qoi chahnulth, the reader is referred to the bibliography
which, or headless (5), in which the specifier i is appended to this article, in particular the discussions
attached to the predicate of a relative clause: in Davidson (2002), Jacobsen (1979a,b), Kim (2003),
Nakayama (2001), Rose (1981), and Stonham (1999,
(5) qah. s i| i 2004).
qah. -s i| i
die -MOM DEF
See also: Canada: Language Situation; Wakashan.
the dead (ones)
A process reminiscent of noun incorporation exists,
but with a rather broad range of implementation: Bibliography
(6a) uutyaapa| [[ suuh. aa ]N]NP Boas F (1890). The Nootka. In Report of the 60th
u-ityaap -a| suuh. aa meeting of the British Association for the Advancement
REF-bring . . . as -NOW spring of Science (BAAS-R 60). 582604.
gift silver salmon Davidson M (2002). Studies in Southern Wakashan
He brought a gift of silver spring salmon. (Nootkan) grammar. Ph.D. diss., State University of
(6b) New York at Buffalo.
Jacobsen W H Jr (1979a). Wakashan comparative studies.
suuh. aa -ityaap -at In Campbell L & Mithun M (eds.) The Languages of
silver spring salmon -bring . . . as gift -PASS Native America. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.
He brought a gift of silver spring salmon. 766791.
Jacobsen W H Jr (1979b). Noun and verb in Nootkan. In
Elements incorporated may include numerals (7a), Efrat B S (ed.) The Victoria conference on northwestern
adverbs (7b), adjectives (7c), or nouns (6b), always languages. Victoria, BC: British Columbia Provincial
from the object argument. Subjects of unaccusative Museum. 83155.
verbs may also be involved (7d): Kim E-S (2003). Theoretical issues in Nuu-chah-nulth pho-
nology and morphology. Ph.D. diss., University of British
(7a) h. aayumiikuk uh. is muu iih. tuup Columbia.
h. ayu -m i ko -uk uh. is muu iih. tuup Kim E-S (2004). The morphological status of - at in
ten -capture -POSS and four whale Nuu-chah-nulth. In Proceedings of BLS 30. Berkeley:
He captured fourteen whales. University of California Press.
744 Nuuchahnulth

Knipe C (1868). Some Account of the Tahkaht Language, lexical materials. Philadelphia & Baltimore, MD: Lin-
as Spoken by Several Tribes on the Western Coast of guistic Society of America.
Vancouver Island. London: Hatchard. Sapir E & Swadesh M (1955). Native accounts of
Nakayama T (2001). Nuuchahnulth (Nootka) morphosyntax. Nootka ethnography. Bloomington, IN: Indiana Univer-
Berkeley: University of California Press. sity Research Center in Anthropology, Folklore and
Rose S M (1981). Kyuquot grammar. Ph.D. diss., University Linguistics.
of Victoria. Stonham J (1999). Tsishaath Nootka phonetics and pho-
Sapir E (no date). Fieldnotes on Nootka. Boas collection of nology. [Lincom Studies in Native American Linguistics
the American Philosophical Society [W2a.18]. Philadel- 32.] Munich: Lincom Europa.
phia, PA. Stonham J (2004). Linguistic theory and complex words:
Sapir E (1924). The rival whalers, a Nitinat story (Nootka Nuuchahnulth word formation. London: Palgrave
text with translation and grammatical analysis). Interna- Macmillan.
tional Journal of American Linguistics 3, 76102. Swadesh M (1939). Nootka internal syntax. International
Sapir E & Swadesh M (1939). Nootka texts, tales and Journal of American Linguistics 9, 77102.
ethnological narratives, with grammatical notes and

Nyanja
S Mchombo, University of California, Berkeley, the hinterland of Malawi, is called chiChewa (hence-
CA, USA forth Chichewa). This dialectal variation is the one
2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. that was spoken by the first president of Malawi, the
late Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda (cf. Watkins, 1937).
The ascendancy of a Chewa to the presidency in
History and Politics
independent Malawi had repercussions on language
ChiNyanja (Nyanja) is a language of the Bantu group issues. President Banda argued that the classification
of the Niger-Kordofanian language family, and is of Chichewa as a dialect of Chinyanja was erroneous,
spoken in parts of eastern, central, and southern deriving from unfortunate aspects of the history of
Africa. It is spoken in Malawi, where, from 1968 missionary activity in the country, whose early activ-
until recently, under the name of Chichewa, it served ities were concentrated along the lake. Banda invoked
as the national language. It is also spoken in Mozam- aspects of history, plausible in some ways, to argue
bique, especially in the provinces of Tete and Niassa, that Chichewa was the language of which Chinyanja
as well as in Zambia and Zimbabwe. In the latter, was the dialectal variation (for pertinent observations,
according to some estimates, it ranks as the third most see Marwick, 1963).
widely used local language, after Shona and Ndebele. The version of the history of the Chewa that Banda
The countries of Malawi, Zambia, and Mozambique espoused was that the people who speak Chichewa,
overwhelmingly constitute the central location of known as aChewa, trace their origins to a group
chiNyanja. of people known as the Maravi (according to some
The language derives its name from the lake that is Portuguese records) who migrated from the lower
shared by Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania, with basin of the Congo in central Africa and eventually
most if it as part of Malawi. The local word for a large settled in the land mass now covered by Malawi,
expanse of water is nyanja. The people who lived Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Pushed by wars, disease,
along the shores of the lake and the banks of the and other maladies from the Congo area, the Maravi
Shire River called themselves aNyanja (lake dwellers). were the first group of Bantu peoples to move and
The Shire River flows from the southern extremity settle in-present day Malawi in the 16th century.
of the lake, formerly called Lake Nyasa, but now Other Bantu groups such as the Tumbuka, Tonga,
known as Lake Malawi, through southern Malawi Yao, Lomwe, and Ngoni moved into Malawi long
into southern Mozambique to join the Zambezi after the Maravi group had successfully established
River. The aNyanja (the singular form of which is itself (see Kalipeni, 1996).
mNyanja, where the prefix m is a syllabic nasal) The Chewa were led by a powerful leader called
spoke the language called chiNyanja (henceforth, Kalonga. He founded in Malawi what later came to be
Chinyanja). called the Maravi empire. In Malawi he established
Like most languages, Chinyanja has a number of his headquarters or seat in a place called Mankhamba.
regional dialectal variations. One of these, spoken in Once settled, he decided to extend his influence by
744 Nuuchahnulth

Knipe C (1868). Some Account of the Tahkaht Language, lexical materials. Philadelphia & Baltimore, MD: Lin-
as Spoken by Several Tribes on the Western Coast of guistic Society of America.
Vancouver Island. London: Hatchard. Sapir E & Swadesh M (1955). Native accounts of
Nakayama T (2001). Nuuchahnulth (Nootka) morphosyntax. Nootka ethnography. Bloomington, IN: Indiana Univer-
Berkeley: University of California Press. sity Research Center in Anthropology, Folklore and
Rose S M (1981). Kyuquot grammar. Ph.D. diss., University Linguistics.
of Victoria. Stonham J (1999). Tsishaath Nootka phonetics and pho-
Sapir E (no date). Fieldnotes on Nootka. Boas collection of nology. [Lincom Studies in Native American Linguistics
the American Philosophical Society [W2a.18]. Philadel- 32.] Munich: Lincom Europa.
phia, PA. Stonham J (2004). Linguistic theory and complex words:
Sapir E (1924). The rival whalers, a Nitinat story (Nootka Nuuchahnulth word formation. London: Palgrave
text with translation and grammatical analysis). Interna- Macmillan.
tional Journal of American Linguistics 3, 76102. Swadesh M (1939). Nootka internal syntax. International
Sapir E & Swadesh M (1939). Nootka texts, tales and Journal of American Linguistics 9, 77102.
ethnological narratives, with grammatical notes and

Nyanja
S Mchombo, University of California, Berkeley, the hinterland of Malawi, is called chiChewa (hence-
CA, USA forth Chichewa). This dialectal variation is the one
2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. that was spoken by the first president of Malawi, the
late Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda (cf. Watkins, 1937).
The ascendancy of a Chewa to the presidency in
History and Politics
independent Malawi had repercussions on language
ChiNyanja (Nyanja) is a language of the Bantu group issues. President Banda argued that the classification
of the Niger-Kordofanian language family, and is of Chichewa as a dialect of Chinyanja was erroneous,
spoken in parts of eastern, central, and southern deriving from unfortunate aspects of the history of
Africa. It is spoken in Malawi, where, from 1968 missionary activity in the country, whose early activ-
until recently, under the name of Chichewa, it served ities were concentrated along the lake. Banda invoked
as the national language. It is also spoken in Mozam- aspects of history, plausible in some ways, to argue
bique, especially in the provinces of Tete and Niassa, that Chichewa was the language of which Chinyanja
as well as in Zambia and Zimbabwe. In the latter, was the dialectal variation (for pertinent observations,
according to some estimates, it ranks as the third most see Marwick, 1963).
widely used local language, after Shona and Ndebele. The version of the history of the Chewa that Banda
The countries of Malawi, Zambia, and Mozambique espoused was that the people who speak Chichewa,
overwhelmingly constitute the central location of known as aChewa, trace their origins to a group
chiNyanja. of people known as the Maravi (according to some
The language derives its name from the lake that is Portuguese records) who migrated from the lower
shared by Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania, with basin of the Congo in central Africa and eventually
most if it as part of Malawi. The local word for a large settled in the land mass now covered by Malawi,
expanse of water is nyanja. The people who lived Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Pushed by wars, disease,
along the shores of the lake and the banks of the and other maladies from the Congo area, the Maravi
Shire River called themselves aNyanja (lake dwellers). were the first group of Bantu peoples to move and
The Shire River flows from the southern extremity settle in-present day Malawi in the 16th century.
of the lake, formerly called Lake Nyasa, but now Other Bantu groups such as the Tumbuka, Tonga,
known as Lake Malawi, through southern Malawi Yao, Lomwe, and Ngoni moved into Malawi long
into southern Mozambique to join the Zambezi after the Maravi group had successfully established
River. The aNyanja (the singular form of which is itself (see Kalipeni, 1996).
mNyanja, where the prefix m is a syllabic nasal) The Chewa were led by a powerful leader called
spoke the language called chiNyanja (henceforth, Kalonga. He founded in Malawi what later came to be
Chinyanja). called the Maravi empire. In Malawi he established
Like most languages, Chinyanja has a number of his headquarters or seat in a place called Mankhamba.
regional dialectal variations. One of these, spoken in Once settled, he decided to extend his influence by
Nyanja 745

acquiring more land and having it settled by his sub- Nyanja people as aNyasa. The people had by then come
jects. To achieve those objectives he dispatched a to be grouped into aChewa, aChipeta, amaNganja,
number of his matrilineal relatives to establish settle- aNyanja, and aNyasa. The last designation appears to
ments in various parts of the country. Among the have contributed to British colonialists eventual desig-
relatives who traveled on were such chiefs as Mwase, nation of the lake as Lake Nyasa, and of the country as
who moved into the area called Kasungu, Kaphwiti Nyasaland. This is the name that the country had until
and Lunda, who settled in the lower Shire valley. As independence in 1964, when the name of Malawi,
they spread throughout the central and southern part apparently derived from Maravi, was restored.
of the country, into eastern Zambia, and into parts The multiplicity of labels under which the Chewa
of Mozambique, including along the Zambezi River, came to be identified was something that received
their language spread too. The dispersion of Kalongas some comment from various scholars. Thus, Young
relatives and the ensuing Chewa diaspora resulted in remarks about the language Nyanja that
a proliferation of regional varieties of the language. it is the language of a people scattered over a large
The distinct names that the regional varieties acquired South-east-central African area, the aMaravi, who to-
created the impression of the existence of a multiplic- day live under at least six different names according to
ity of ethnic groups. Some of the groups identified the area in which Europeans found them in the closing
themselves by making reference to significant features decades of the last century. And they were more or less
of their habitat. on the same ground at least 300 years earlier since the
Malawi is a country dominated by a huge lake that Portuguese records give some of them the same names as
ranks as the third largest in Africa, after Victoria they bear to-day. (Young, 1949: 53)
Nyanza (Lake Victoria) and Lake Tanganyika, and as Earlier, Hetherwick had stated that
the 12th largest in the world. As indicated, the word
for a large expanse of water in Chichewa is nyanja, On the Shire River they are called Manganja, a merely
and the word for tall grass (savanna) is chipeta. The local pronunciation of the word A-Nyanja. Around
Lake-Shirwa they are best known by their Yao name
people who settled along the lakeshores and along
A-Nyasa. (Hetherwick, 1901: 15)
the banks of the Shire River began to call them-
selves aNyanja, the lake people, and their particular Although Chichewa is widely spoken in Southern,
variety of Chichewa was called chiNyanja, or simply eastern, and central Africa, spreading over the land-
Nyanja, the language of the lake people. Those who mass that includes Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique,
moved into the interior, the land of tall grass, were and Zimbabwe, Greenberg does not mention it in his
called aChipeta, the dwellers of the savanna land. classification of African languages. In the works of
These names began to obscure the nature of the rela- Guthrie, Chichewa and Chimanganja are listed as
tionship among the people. This was further compli- two dialect variations of Nyanja. He classifies Chi-
cated by the introduction of yet other labels. Thus, chewa as belonging to zone N31b, being identified as
the advent of the Portuguese, entering the area from the second dialect of the main language.
southern Africa in the 17th century, was accompanied Chinyanja served as the main linguistic medium for
by the introduction of new labels. They had been in the mass media in Malawi and was taught as a subject
contact with such ethnic groups as the Xhosa, the in educational institutions at both primary and sec-
Nyika, the Tchangani, etc. These referred to them- ondary levels. In 1968, under political pressure from
selves as amaXhosa, amaNyika, amaTchangani, etc. President Banda, a resolution was passed at the annu-
Banda claimed that when the Portuguese encountered al convention of the Malawi Congress Party, then the
the Chewa living in southern Malawi and southern ruling and sole political party in Malawi, to have the
Mozambique, who referred to themselves as aNyanja, name of the language officially changed to Chichewa.
they referred to them as amaNyanja (see Banda, From that point the language Chinyanja became
19741975). Under the influence of Portuguese pho- known as Chichewa in Malawi. Simultaneously,
nology, the sound ny, a palatal nasal, got velarized to it was elevated to the status of national language.
ng. This gave rise to an ethnic group of amaNganja, English remained in use as the official language.
whose language was called chiManganja, definitely The language policy adopted in Malawi that made
not distinct from the Nyanja. Meanwhile, the Chewa Chichewa the national language contributed to the
who had settled around the southern end of Lake promotion of Chichewa through active educational
Malawi, spreading to the area surrounding Lake programs, media usage, and other research activities.
Chirwa, encountered another ethnic group, the Yao. With the exception of work carried out within the
The Yao predominated in Mozambique but had flowed University of Malawi, tied to contributions to, and
into the southeast part of Malawi. The Yao word for a adaptations of, advances in linguistic theory, the pro-
large expanse of water is nyasa, and they referred to the motion and standardization of Chichewa were placed
746 Nyanja

under the oversight of the Chichewa Board. The the minimum, the insurgents seemed to have received
terms of reference of the Chichewa Board included logistical support from Zambia (for relevant details
monitoring of proper usage of Chichewa in the see Mchombo, 1998a, 1998b).
media, revising and updating the orthographic con- The worsening relations between the two countries
ventions, as well as engaging in lexicographic work. meant that the policy about language, in this regard
The sustained effort over many years to boost the relating to change in the name, was not merely
status of Chichewa as the main language resulted viewed as an issue internal to Malawi but, further,
in increased functional literacy in that language. Out as yet another instance of Kamuzu Bandas grandiose
of a population of around 11 million in Malawi, scheme to identify the country or region with his
upwards of 65% have functional literacy or active cultural and linguistic heritage, a version of Chewa
command of this language. hegemony. As noted by Matiki, Banda carried this
The political directive that led to the change of idea of Chewa supremacy a little further by claiming
name of the language in Malawi, from Chinyanja to that the dialect spoken by his clan is the best. This
Chichewa, did not carry over to the neighboring coun- is nothing but linguacentrism (Matiki, 1997: 529).
tries of Zambia and Mozambique. Political factors Even if the logic or historical accuracy or factual basis
were definitely relevant. During the period when the for the name change were to prove impeccably sound
language issue was being addressed in Malawi, polit- and unimpeachable, Zambia was not ready to take
ical relations between Malawi and Zambia reached a hints or, worse, orders, from Malawi. A subsequent
nadir. This deserves comment. dispute concerning the proper borders of the coun-
tries, again perpetrated by the Malawi regime around
the same time, merely exacerbated an already grave
Regional Politics and Language Issues
situation. Thus, in Zambia, as well as in Mozambique,
Soon after gaining independence from the United the language has always remained as Chinyanja.
Kingdom in 1964, Malawi had a cabinet crisis. In Mozambique Chinyanja is native to 3.3% of a
A number of radical political activists with more population numbering approximately 11.5 million.
nationalist fervor broke ranks with Kamuzu Banda, In Tete Province it is spoken by 41.7% of a popula-
then Prime Minister. These were among the political tion of 777 426, and it is the first language of 7.2% of
leaders who had invited Kamuzu Banda to return the population of Niassa Province, whose population
from his exile in Britain, and subsequently Ghana, to totals 506 974 (see Firmino, 1995). In Zambia, with a
join in, and assume command of, the fight for inde- population of 9.1 million, Chinyanja is the first lan-
pendence. Following the granting of independence guage of 16% of the population and is used and/or
the young radicals got disillusioned with the direction understood by at least 42% of the population,
taken by Kamuzu Bandas policies. The policies were according to a survey conducted in 1978 (cf. Kashoki,
seen as aiming to oppress the masses, to practically 1978). It is one of the main languages of Zambia,
deify Banda himself as a cult figure to whom the ranking second after Chibemba (Bemba). In fact, out
people were to pay homage, to undermine the efforts of the 9.1 million people of that country, it is estimated
to promote Pan-Africanism, and to maintain the sta- that 36% are Bemba, 18% Nyanja, 15% Tonga, 8%
tus quo, such that the colonialists would still enjoy Barotze, and the remainder consisting of other ethnic
the privileges that they had before independence. In groups including the Mombwe, the Tumbuka, and the
brief, Bandas policies brought out the dictatorial Northwestern peoples (see Kalipeni, 1996). The fig-
tendencies that were eventually to characterize his ures show that at least six million people are fluent in
rule and laid the groundwork for his tyrannical grip Chinyanja.
over the countrys political development. In the revolt
that resulted from the rift, the dissident politicians left
The Ascendancy of Chinyanja
the country and sought refuge in the neighboring
countries of Tanzania and Zambia. This resulted in A recurrent joke in linguistics courses about the dis-
strained relations between Malawi on the one hand tinction between language and dialect is the quip that
and those other countries on the other. a language is a dialect with an army and a navy. The
The situation became aggravated when, around rise of Chichewa in Malawi was intimately connected
1967, there was an unsuccessful effort by a group of to the tenure of Kamuzu Banda, a Chewa, as presi-
insurgents under the leadership of Yatuta Chisiza, a dent of Malawi. With altered political dispensation
dissident politician, to unseat Kamuzu Banda mili- through the shift to democratic practice, and Bandas
tarily. The military escapade was viewed as having subsequent demise, Chichewa effectively lost the
been perpetrated with the connivance or complicity, if army and navy that protected it from the status of
not open support, of those neighboring countries. At dialect. Without formally or openly introducing a
Nyanja 747

new language policy, Malawian scholars have felt it as indicating a real diminution in linguistic work on
prudent to fall in line with the other countries in the it. Given the historical circumstances which account
region by restoring the name of Chinyanja to the for the preponderance of the available trained
language. This restoration of Chinyanja to its former linguists working on Chichewa, and the headstart
status goes beyond mere efforts to promote regional Chichewa was given in getting material prepared for
linguistic harmonization. Within Malawi the national educational and other purposes, it will continue to
language policy adversely affected the other lan- function in the capacity of the major language of
guages. Once again, as noted by Matiki, the change the country. Of some significance, at least to public
of name [from Chinyanja to Chichewa] angered some perception, is the recent introduction of radio news
people because there was no justification in changing bulletins in the other languages such as Chilomwe
the name other than the fact that President Banda was (Lomwe), Chiyao (Yao), Chitumbuka (Tumbuka),
an ethnic Chewa (1997: 527). Thus, the other ethnic Chitonga (Tonga), and Chisena (Malawi Sena). The
groups in the country felt alienated, more so given the news bulletins have served to increase peoples
identification of Chichewa with political power and awareness of these other Malawian languages, sub-
the relegation of their languages to relative obscurity tly contributing to the subjection of Chichewa to
(cf. Kishindo, 1994). The political transition to dem- competition.
ocratic practice and the departure of Kamuzu Banda There are grounds for the restoration of Chinyanja
from the political helm provided opportune occasion as the main language. These include the literary tradi-
for implementation of more equitable access to polit- tion that Chinyanja has enjoyed (see Made et al.,
ical participation and the recognition of the cultural 1976). The description of Chinyanja goes back to
and linguistic heritage of the various segments of the at least 1875; the first significant work can be traced
nation. Kamuzu Bandas departure from the political to Alexander Riddels publication in 1880 of A gram-
scene was accompanied by the ascendancy of Bakili mar of Chinyanja as spoken at Lake Nyasa, with
Muluzi, a Yao, as the second president of a democratic Chinyanja-English vocabulary. This work, while not
Malawi. Inevitably, the political changes witnessed linguistically very significant, was followed in 1891
shifting fortunes for Chichewa. with the publication of George Henrys A grammar of
Chinyanja: a language spoken in British Central
Africa on and near the shores of Lake Nyasa. This
On Reverting to the Name of Chinyanja
was more comprehensive than the work by Riddel. In
Although use of the label Chichewa is likely to re- 1892 David Scotts A cyclopaedic dictionary of the
main, there is systematic diminution of its former Manganja language spoken in British Central Africa
status. Thus, the Chichewa Board was subsequently appeared, a work that was later to be revised
dissolved and, in 1996, the Center for Language Stud- and enlarged by Alexander Hetherwick in 1929 as
ies (CLS), with a broader scope of activities, was Dictionary of the Nyanja language. This still remains
established to replace it. The center is affiliated to an authoritative dictionary of the language. Previous-
the University of Malawi, stressing its new mandate ly, in 1901, Hetherwick had produced A practical
as a locus of research and scholarship, not as an organ manual for the Nyanja language.
of political ideology or an instrument of political These descriptions of Chinyanja and the functional
hegemony. The activities carried out under the aus- utility that the language enjoyed underscored its legit-
pices of the CLS have included concerted efforts to imacy to the status of a major language or lingua
document and provide linguistic descriptions of some franca. The subsequent adoption of the colonialists
of the endangered languages in Malawi. language policy, which recognized the position of
Further, the erstwhile Department of Chichewa and Chinyanja in Central Africa, especially in Malawi,
Linguistics at the University of Malawi, pioneered eliminated further detractions from its status. The
by the present author, under political directive establishment of the colonial administration in
from President Banda to the University of Malawi Malawi at the turn of the 20th century provided
to contribute to the enhancement of Chichewa, was extra impetus to the promotion of Chinyanja. This
renamed the Department of African Languages and led to the appearance of more works on Chinyanja
Linguistics, thereby degrading further the profile of and the emergence of more literary works and
Chichewa. newspapers, such as Msimbi, a weekly Chinyanja
The politically correct stance of diminishing the newspaper that flourished for several years from
profile of Chichewa in the university through the 1951.
removal of direct reference to it in the name of As Chinyanja gets rehabilitated, and some recent
the department, together with the establishment publications such as dictionaries now bear that
of the CLS, should not, however, be (mis)construed name instead of Chichewa, the latter still remains
748 Nyanja

undeniably the most familiar label for the language A lingering perennial question relates to the semantic
that is spoken and understood by more than half the or cognitive basis for the classification of nouns.
population of Malawi. The reversion to the label of A definitive response to the question remains forth-
Chinyanja, just like the prior change to Chichewa, coming. Noun modifiers are marked for agreement
may lack a linguistic basis but it definitely fulfills with the class features of the head noun, and these
political objectives. features are also reflected in the subject marker (SM)
and object marker (OM) in the verbal morphology.
This can be illustrated by the following:
Linguistic Aspects of Chinyanja
(1a) chi-soti ch-a nga lch-a -tso pano
Chinyanja manifests typical aspects of the linguistic 7-hat 7SM-my 7SM-ASSOC-now
structure of Bantu languages. Its nominal system com- chi-ja ch-ma-sangalats-a a-lenje
prises a number of gender classes that are involved in 7SM-REL.PRO 7SM-HABIT-please-FV 2-hunters
the agreement patterning of the language, character- that new hat of mine pleases hunters
istic of Bantu languages. Thus, nominal modifiers (1b) m-kondo w-anga w-a-tsopano
3-spear 3SM-my 3SM-ASSOC-now
agree with the head noun in the relevant features of u-ja u-ma-sangalats-a a-lenje
gender and number, as will be illustrated below. 3SM-REL.PRO 3SM-HABIT-please-FV 2-hunters
In its verbal structure, Chinyanja, just like other that new spear of mine pleases hunters
Bantu languages, displays an elaborate agglutinative
In these sentences, the words in construction with the
structure. The verb comprises a verb root or radical,
nouns are marked for agreement with that head noun.
to which suffixes or extensions are added to form the
(The actual agreement markers in these examples are
verb stem (cf. Guthrie, 1962). The extensions affect
chi and u. The i vowel in chi is elided when followed
argument structure or the number of expressible nom-
by a vowel, and the u is replaced by the glide w in
inal arguments that the stem can support. The verb
a similar environment.) Chinyanja is a head-initial
stem also has proclitics which encode such syntacti-
language. Within the noun phrase the head noun
cally oriented information as negation, tense/aspect,
precedes its modifiers. The formal patterns that mark
subject and object markers, modals, conditional
singular and plural number are traditionally identi-
markers, directional markers, etc. (cf. Mchombo,
fied by a numbering system, now virtually standard in
2004).
Bantu linguistics (Bleek, 18621869). Consider the
Chinyanja is also a tonal language, displaying
following data:
features of lexical and grammatical tone. It has two
tone levels, high (H) and low (L). Contour tones are (2a) m-nyamata boy a-nyamata boys
attested but result from a combination of these tone m-lenje hunter a-lenje hunters
levels, usually on long syllables (Mtenje, 1986). In its m-kazi woman a-kazi women
segmental phonology, Chinyanja has a basic organi- (2b) m-kondo spear mi-kondo spears
zation of five vowel phonemes. The verb stem, i.e., mu-nda garden m-nda gardens
the domain comprising the verb root and the suffixes m-kango lion mi-kango lions
(2c) tsamba leaf ma-samba leaves
changing argument structure, is also the domain of
duwa flower ma-luwa flowers
vowel harmony. In its syllable structure, Chinyanja phanga cave ma-panga caves
has the basic CV structure common in Bantu (Mtenje, (2d) chi-sa nest zi-sa nests
1980). chi-tosi chicken zi-tosi chicken droppings
dropping
Classification of Nouns
chi-putu grass zi-putu grass stubble
The nominal morphology of Chinyanja displays the stubble
paradigmatic case of nouns maintaining, at the mini- These classes show part of the range of noun clas-
mum, a bimorphemic structure, which consists in a sification that is characteristic of Bantu languages. In
nominal prefix and a nominal stem. The prefix the examples above, the singular forms of the first
encodes grammatically relevant information of gen- group above, dominated by nouns that denote ani-
der (natural) and number, involved in agreement be- mate things, constitutes Class 1, and its plural coun-
tween the nouns and other grammatical classes in terpart is Class 2. Of course, not all animate things
construction with them. This is illustrated by the are in this class. In fact it does also include some
following: inanimate objects. The groups in (2b), (2c), and (2d)
m-lenje hunter a-lenje hunters constitute Classes 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 respectively. The
chi-soti hat zi-soti hats odd numbers indicate the singular forms and the even
m-ko ndo spear mi-ko ndo spears numbers their plural counterparts. This runs on to
Nyanja 749

Classes 5, 6, 7, and 8. There is a further class, 1a. This Table 1 Full range of noun classes in Chinyanja
class consists of nouns whose agreement patterns are Classes Prefixes Subject Object
those of Class 1 but whose nouns lack the m(u) prefix marker marker
found in the Class 1 nouns. The plural of such nouns
SG PL SG PL SG PL SG PL
is indicated by prefixing a to the word. For instance,
the noun kalu lu hare, whose plural is akalu lu, typi- 1 2 m(u)- a- a- a- m(u) wa
fies this class. Each of these classes has a specific class 3 4 m(u)- mi- u- i- u i
marker and a specific agreement marker. Beginning 5 6 *li- ma- li- a- li wa
with Class 2, the agreement markers are respectively 7 8 chi- zi- chi- zi- chi zi
9 10 *N- *N- i- zi- i zi
a, u, i, li, a, chi, and zi. Class 1 has the agreement 12 13 ka- ti- ka- ti- ka ti
markers mu (or syllabic m), u, and a, depending on 14 6 u- ma- u- a- u wa
the category of the modifier. Consider the following: 15 ku- ku- ku-
16 pa- pa- pa-
(3) m-lenje m-mo dzi a-na-bwe la nd m-ko ndo 17 ku- ku- ku-
1-hunter 1SM-one 1SM-PAST- with 4-spears 18 m(u)- m(u)- m(u)-
come-FV
one hunter came with spears

Here, the numeral mo dzi one is marked with the


agreement marker m but the verb has a for the subject (6) ku mudzi kw-a nu ku -ma-sangala ts-a
marker. The u is used with demonstratives and when 17-at 3-village 17SM-your 17-HABIT-please-FV
ale ndo
the segment that follows is a vowel. This seems to
2-visitors
apply to most cases regardless of whether the vowel in
your village [i.e., the location] pleases visitors
question is a tense/aspect marker, an associative
marker, or part of a stem, such as with possessives. This gives such locatives the appearance of being class
Consider the following: markers, giving rise to the view that in Chinyanja
locatives are not really prepositions that mark
(4) m-lenje w-anu u-ja w-a
grammatical case but, rather, class markers (for some
1-hunter 1SM-your 11SM-that SM-ASSOC
ntha bwala w-a-thyol-a mi-ko ndo
discussion, see Bresnan, 1991, 1994).
10-humor 1SM-PERF-break-FV 4-spears The full range of noun classes in Chinyanja, togeth-
that humorous hunter of yours has broken the er with their restive subject and object markers, is
spears given in Table 1. Some of the classes have prefixes
that are starred. These classes consist of nouns that,
In this sentence, the glide w replaces u when a vowel normally, lack the indicated prefix in the noun mor-
follows regardless of the function associated with that phology. Samples of Class 5 nouns are provided
vowel. above. Most of the nouns in Classes 9 and 10 begin
Although most of the nouns are bimorphemic, with a nasal but there are no overt changes in their
there are a number of cases where a further prefix, morphological composition that correlate with
marking either diminution or augmentation, is added number. The number distinction is reflected in the
to an already prefixed noun. This is shown in the agreement markers rather than in the overt form of
following: the noun. Examples of Class 9/10 nouns are nyu mba
(5) ka-m-lenje k-a nu ka-ja k-a house(s), nthenga feather(s), mphni tattoo(s),
12-1-hunter 12SM-your 12SM-that 12-ASSOC nkhondo war. Class 15 consists of infinitive verbs.
ntha bwala k-a-thyol-a ti-mi-ko ndo The infinitive marker ku- regulates the agreement
10-humor 12SM-PERF-break-FV 134-spears patterns, just like the diminutives (Classes 12 and
that small humorous hunter of yours has broken
13) and locatives. The infinitives are thus regarded
the tiny spears
as constituting a separate class although, just as with
In this sentence, the preprefixes ka for singular and ti the locatives, there are no nouns that are peculiar to
for plural get attached to nouns to convey the sense this class. There are minor exceptions to locatives.
of diminutive size. These preprefixes then control These have to do with such words as pansi down,
the agreement patterns (cf. Bresnan and Mchombo, kunsi underneath, panja outside of a place, kunja
1995), providing the rationale for regarding them as (the general) outside, pano here (at this spot), kuno
governing separate noun classes. One significant point here (hereabouts), muno in here. With these, the
to be made is that locatives also control agreement locative prefixes pa, ku, and mu are attached to
patterns. Consider the following: the stems -nsi, -nja, and -no, which are bound. The
750 Nyanja

agreement pattern regulated by the infinitive marker Kishindo P J (1994). The impact of a national language
ku- is exemplified by the following: on minority languages: the case of Malawi. Journal of
Contemporary African Studies 12(2), 127150.
(7) ku-mba kw-anu ku -ma-sangala ts-a Mackenzie D (1911). Notes on Tumbuka syntax. Nyasaland:
15INF-sing 15SM-your 15SM-HABIT-please-FV Livingstonia Mission.
a-lenje Made S M, Mangoche Mbewe M V B & Jackson R
2-hunters (1976). 100 years of Chichewa in writing, 18751975.
your singing pleases hunters Zomba.
Malawi Congress Party Convention (1983). Malawi
See also: Bantu Languages; Kordofanian Languages; Congress Party Convention resolutions, 19651983.
Malawi: Language Situation; Mozambique: Language Blantyre, Malawi: Blantyre Print.
Situation; Niger-Congo Languages; Tanzania: Lan- Marwick M G (1963). History and tradition in east central
guage Situation. Africa through the eyes of Northern Rhodesian Cewa.
Journal of African History 4, 375390.
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