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Diversity in the Numeral Systems of Australian Languages

Bowern, Claire; Zentz, Jason

Description

While the numeral systems of Australian languages are small, they are not uniform. In this article we shed light on the extent of variation in small numeral systems by systematically surveying 189 languages from Pama-Nyungan and non-Pama-Nyungan families. We show that, contra previous assumptions, Australian languages vary extensively in the limits of their numeral system, in the ways in which smaller numerals may be combined to form larger ones, and in their ability to denote vague quantities...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorBowern, Claire
dc.contributor.authorZentz, Jason
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-10T23:04:11Z
dc.identifier.issn0003-5483
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/62254
dc.description.abstractWhile the numeral systems of Australian languages are small, they are not uniform. In this article we shed light on the extent of variation in small numeral systems by systematically surveying 189 languages from Pama-Nyungan and non-Pama-Nyungan families. We show that, contra previous assumptions, Australian languages vary extensively in the limits of their numeral system, in the ways in which smaller numerals may be combined to form larger ones, and in their ability to denote vague quantities like 'some' or 'few'. We also investigate the etymological sources of words for numerals and find that few terms are reconstructible.
dc.publisherIndiana University Press
dc.sourceAnthropological Linguistics
dc.titleDiversity in the Numeral Systems of Australian Languages
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume54
dc.date.issued2012
local.identifier.absfor200406 - Language in Time and Space (incl. Historical Linguistics, Dialectology)
local.identifier.ariespublicationu9803255xPUB680
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationBowern, Claire, College of Arts and Social Sciences, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationZentz, Jason, Yale University
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.issue2
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage133
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage160
local.identifier.doi10.1353/anl.2012.0008
local.identifier.absseo970120 - Expanding Knowledge in Languages, Communication and Culture
dc.date.updated2015-12-10T08:42:44Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-84875387134
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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