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Do non-verbal number systems shape grammar? Numerical cognition and Number morphology compared


Franzon, Francesca; Zanini, Chiara; Rugani, Rosa (2019). Do non-verbal number systems shape grammar? Numerical cognition and Number morphology compared. Mind & Language, 34(1):37-58.

Abstract

Number morphology (e.g., singular vs. plural) is a part of the grammar that captures numerical information. Some languages have morphological Number values, which express few (paucal), two (dual), three (trial) and sometimes (possibly) four (quadral). Interestingly, the limit of the attested morphological Number values matches the limit of non-verbal numerical cognition. The latter is based on two systems, one estimating approximate numerosities and the other computing exact numerosities up to three or four. We compared the literature on nonverbal number systems with data on Number morphology from 218 languages. Our observations suggest that nonverbal numerical cognition is reflected as a core part of language.

Abstract

Number morphology (e.g., singular vs. plural) is a part of the grammar that captures numerical information. Some languages have morphological Number values, which express few (paucal), two (dual), three (trial) and sometimes (possibly) four (quadral). Interestingly, the limit of the attested morphological Number values matches the limit of non-verbal numerical cognition. The latter is based on two systems, one estimating approximate numerosities and the other computing exact numerosities up to three or four. We compared the literature on nonverbal number systems with data on Number morphology from 218 languages. Our observations suggest that nonverbal numerical cognition is reflected as a core part of language.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Romance Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:800 Literature, rhetoric & criticism
470 Latin & Italic languages
410 Linguistics
440 French & related languages
460 Spanish & Portuguese languages
450 Italian, Romanian & related languages
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Language and Linguistics
Social Sciences & Humanities > Philosophy
Social Sciences & Humanities > Linguistics and Language
Language:English
Date:1 February 2019
Deposited On:21 Jan 2019 10:25
Last Modified:11 May 2020 00:00
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0268-1064
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/mila.12183

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