Tim May scripsit:
> I don't dispute that this is a probable explanation for the facts
> before us, and I have no alternative hypothesis. We are, however,
> theorizing from limited data.
Here's what I've been able to glean by googling:
# Radical reduction can be observed in a complex system of numerals
# formerly divided into twenty-six classes. Currently the speakers remember
# the numeral forms no more than of six classes, making a distinction
# between numerals referring to people, animals, small objects, dried fish,
# days, and all other objects.
# The use of Cl[assifier]s is common in the languages of East and Southeast
# Asia; examples are Chinese, Burmese, Thai, and Khmer. It is also common
# in Aus- tronesian, especially among Oceanic languages. Chamorro, for
# instance, uses Cls (exclusively) with possessives, while Mokilese,
# Ponapean, Trukese, and Woleaian use them with numerals, as in the
# Chinese example (5b), and also with possessives. Indonesian has only
# numeral classifiers. Several Mesoamerican families also contain Cl-
# languages. These include the Mayan languages (Chontal, Yucatec, and
# Tzeltal, for instance), as well as Tarascan and the Totonac languages
# of the Totonac- Tepehua family. A form of possessive classifier occurs
# in some Otomanguean languages. Numeral classifiers also occur in the
# isolated Siberian language Nivkh. In addition, classifiers appear in a
# variety of constructions in certain Australian languages. Even some
# Indo-European languages contain simple classifier systems. Persian,
# for instance, has a few nouns that are commonly inserted after numerals.
# While relatively little of the classifying function remains in Persian
# (such constructions are a relic of an older, richer system), the
# similarity to other Cl-systems is clear.
# In the Siberian language Nivkh (or Gilyak) nouns can be derived from
# verbs simply by changing the initial consonant (see (i)), and likewise
# transitive and intransitive verbs are often related solely by mutation
# (see (ii)):
# (i) vut^y id^y 'sweep' put^yis 'broom'
# fady 'put on knee-piece' phad^y 'knee-piece'
# (ii) gesqod^y 'burn NP' kesqod^y 'burn oneself'
# zod^y 'bend' t^yod^y 'bend'
# (C^y = palatalized C, Ch = aspirated C)
John Cowan [log in to unmask]
"You need a change: try Canada" "You need a change: try China"
--fortune cookies opened by a couple that I know