Evidence for the Syntactic Diversity of Numeral Classifiers

Peter Jenks


I propose a syntactic typology of numeral classifier languages based on the observation that the order of nouns and numeral classifiers correlate with substantial differences in the syntactic uses of classifiers. In languages where classifiers precede nouns, they have an article-like use marking definiteness. We take this as evidence that classifiers are functional projections of the NP there, forming a constituent with that noun. In languages where classifiers follow nouns, they do not form a constituent with the head noun, explaining why these languages almost universally exhibit quantifier float of a quantifier+classifier constituent.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/exabs.v0i0.494