Nominal classification systems

Aikhenvald, Alexandra (2020) Nominal classification systems. In: Stanley, James M., (ed.) International Encyclopedia of Linguistic Anthropology. John Wiley & Sons.

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Almost all languages of the world have nominal classification devices in their grammar. The most widespread are linguistic genders (also referred to as noun classes) – grammatical classes of nouns based on core semantic properties such as sex (female and male), animacy, humanness, and also shape and size. The choice of agender (or noun class) may not be semantically transparent. Classifiers of several types are a further means for categorizing nominals. Numeral classifiers – the most widely represented type – categorize the nominal in terms of its inherent nature, animacy, shape, and form, and occur next to a numeral or a quantifier. Numeral classifiers divide into sortal and mensural. Noun classifiers accompany a noun and categorize it in terms of its inherent properties. Possessive classifiers categorize a noun with a possessive construction. Or the nature of the nominal can be reflected in a classifier on the verb, or a suppletive classificatory verb. Each type of nominal classification devices has its preferred semantic parameters. Nominal classification systems tend to reflect social relationships. Grammatical gender is prone to reflect the stereotypes associated with social gender – the social implications and norms associated with being a man, or a woman, or a further gender category.

Item ID: 62994
Item Type: Book Chapter (Reference)
Media of Output: Article
Keywords: functions of classifiers; gender; nominal classification; noun classifier; numeral classifier; possessive classifier; relational classifier; social gender, Culture; Language Contact; Philosophy (of language)
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2021 01:07
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2004 Linguistics > 200408 Linguistic Structures (incl Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 100%
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