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Steve Cooney wrote:
>
> I take it from your question that you think plural
> marker(s) are a good thing, and that not having them
> means a limitation of some kind. ?

Seems to me you're jumping to conclusions.  It could just be that he's
trying to give his conlang depth by figuring out its past.  Or perhaps
has a conlang that's acquired a plural suffix from contact with one that
has it.

>
> Are you assuming that 'undeveloped' languages don't
> have such markers?  In looking at Chinese, which is a
> good example where a language has rather non-english
> plurality - "wo3" means "my", "we", and "our" - there
> is indeed a different spin on describing plurality,
> but this is generally left to context.

As I understand it, _wo_ means only "I/me/my", and for "we/us/our", the
plural suffix -men is used.

At any rate, as for origins of plural suffixes, adjectives meaning
"many" or "all" (compare y'all < you all, generalized somewhat in my
dialect to forms like "who all" and "what all") are probably
reasonable.  Aa affix meaning "group of" is quite plausible, too.  The
Japanese suffix -tachi, for example, is commonly used for plural, but
also has another (original) meaning of "group associated with".  Of
course, reduplication is another popular way of forming plurals, but
that's unlikely to give rise to a set morpheme.  Japanese also has
another, respectful, plural suffix -gata, which is derived from _kata_,
literally "direction" but also a polite term for "person", so presumably
being used in a plural sense (plurality is optional in non-pronominal
nouns in Japanese).  IIRC, Bislama uses -pela < Eng. fellow as a plural
marker.

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