The plural marker in Kove, an Oceanic Language of Papua New Guinea

Sato, Hiroko (2016) The plural marker in Kove, an Oceanic Language of Papua New Guinea. Oceanic Linguistics, 55 (2). pp. 374-398.

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Kove, an Oceanic language of Papua New Guinea, has a nominative-accusative case system: the subject pronoun in both intransitive and transitive sentences is the same in form, but the object pronoun is different. In a Kove verb phrase, the verb is obligatorily prefixed by a subject pronominal form. In addition, if a verb is transitive, the direct object appears after the verb.

A pronominal suffix can function as the object of verbs and prepositions. When the direct object is a lexical noun phrase, the verb or preposition can take the suffix -ri as a plural marker. However, whether a referent is treated as singular or plural depends on the nature of the object's individuality. For instance, a case where there are several coconuts, but all of only one kind, is considered singular. Thus, the plural marker appears only when the object has a certain kind of individuation. Furthermore, the choice of plural versus singular object marker also involves the animacy hierarchy. Only one -ri can appear per clause. If the objects of both a verb and a preposition are plural, the object with higher animacy is marked by -ri, while the object with lower animacy is not.

In addition to its function as a plural object marker, -ri can also mark a plural subject of an intransitive verb, following an ergative-like pattern. Moreover, it can also appear on an adjective when the modified noun is plural. As with transitive verbs, however, in these cases the possibility of marking plurality with -ri depends on the nature of the object's individuality.

Item ID: 48515
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1527-9421
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2017 00:08
FoR Codes: 47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4704 Linguistics > 470409 Linguistic structures (incl. phonology, morphology and syntax) @ 100%
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