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Re: [Lingo] Re: [tlug] Mystical tabbing events

> What is the linguistic definition of "plural"?

This is off the top of my head...plural is an expression of the
morphological category "number".  Number is "inflectional" rather than
"derivational", which means (among other things) that it is expected to
be applicable to (essentially) all words of the appropriate type: in
this case nouns.

OK, there are few absolute universals in language... of course there are
nouns like "rice" in English that are not countable (cannot be
pluralized, at least not under any normal interpretation), but in a
language that has number, anything that can reasonably be counted (even
"water" under the right narrow interpretation) should carry the number
feature ("morpheme") and submit to overt inflection to reflect it. The
Japanese suffixes -tachi and -ra are *highly* restricted in the nouns
which they can attach to.

Furthermore, number "means" nothing more than how many of something
there are. Tachi/ra have a different meaning... they mean something
closer to "et al.". Speaking of Latin :-)

I believe it's correct to say that number as a morphological feature
simply doesn't exist in Japanese.

> Damn, I was hoping to catch you improperly forming a Latin plural, but
> I should have known better, given that you are an actual linguist.

Not all linguists know Latin, but you're right in that I wouldn't want
to be caught saying something that looked stupid :-)  In fact I took
Latin in high school, long ago, and have forgotten almost all of it.
My linguistics studies have helped me remember a little :-)


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