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

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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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          The Generic Book

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

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              Locality constraints on the interpretation of roots: The case of Hebrew denominal verbs

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                2397-1835
                Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
                Ubiquity Press
                2397-1835
                10 July 2019
                2019
                : 4
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Concordia University, Montreal, QC, CA
                [2 ]McGill University, Montreal, QC, CA
                [3 ]U. Intercultural de Tabasco, Tacotalpa, Tab., MX
                Article
                10.5334/gjgl.752
                e5ba8e70-a9f2-46c1-b2cd-61296e283adc
                Copyright: © 2019 The Author(s)

                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 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                Categories
                Research

                General linguistics,Linguistics & Semiotics
                classifiers,partitions,Mayan,measures,numerals
                General linguistics, Linguistics & Semiotics
                classifiers, partitions, Mayan, measures, numerals

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