On Mon, 6 Aug 2001, claudio wrote:
> when you write:
> "Rather than simply quantity, some number systems distinguish distributed
> all over the place from collected in one place."
> does this sentence refer to the associative plural ?
No. This is a distributive/collective distinction. Say you want to refer
to the tools in the back yard. If they are scattered all over the yard,
you use the plural marker, but if they are stacked up by the porch all
together, then you use the singular or a collective plural (depending on
the language). So the distributed plural indicates multiplicity of
"locations" of the noun/pronoun/verbal action in question. Many languages
cannot use the distributed plural for just two items, because it is hard
to describe two things as distributed all over the place.