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      Classifiers, partitions, and measurements: Exploring the syntax and semantics of sortal classifiers

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      Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
      Ubiquity Press, Ltd.

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          Abstract

          In many languages, measure terms like item and kilo , as in two items of furniture and two kilos of rice , can be used either to partition the nominal denotation into countable units, or to measure a denotation without inducing a partition. These two types of measurements are associated with two different syntactic structures: a partition-structure where the measure term forms a constituent with the noun independent of the numeral, and a measure-structure where the measure term forms a constituent with the numeral. Some researchers have claimed that in classifier languages, sortal classifiers are (most often) used in a partition-structure—hence the classifier forms a constituent with the noun independent of the numeral. In contrast, non-sortal classifiers (i.e., measure classifiers) are often used in a measure-structure—the classifier forms a constituent with the numeral and this constituent modifies the noun. Contrary to these claims, we demonstrate that in Ch’ol (Mayan) all classifiers, sortal and non-sortal alike, are used in a measure-structure independent of the types of readings that are available with respect to the measure term. As a result, the correlation between partitioned meanings and partition-structures is not universal. We review several diagnostics that support this claim. These diagnostics can be used as a template to test the constituency structure in other classifier languages.

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          Most cited references46

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          Bare and Not-So-Bare Nouns and the Structure of NP

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
                Ubiquity Press, Ltd.
                2397-1835
                July 10 2019
                July 10 2019
                2019
                July 10 2019
                July 10 2019
                2019
                : 4
                : 1
                Article
                10.5334/gjgl.752
                e5ba8e70-a9f2-46c1-b2cd-61296e283adc
                © 2019

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. See https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

                History

                General linguistics,Linguistics & Semiotics
                General linguistics, Linguistics & Semiotics

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