David Zitzelsberger wrote: >Had an interesting thought. > >Are the dishes clean? > >pl pl > >Is this stuff clean? > >si si but implies plural > >How do other languages handle the pluralness of nouns that represent a >plural idea (inherently mass). > >I can think of three solutions to this: > 1. It's singular so use singular verb > 2. It's a mass so use plural verb > 3. It's a special case so use a separate case > > > I don't think you want 'case' here. Just 'number'. But I can tell you how Yamphu, a Sino-Tibetan language I happen to have the grammar of does it. There are three numbers, called singular and non-singular. Singular is unmarked, so, for instance, <oŋæk>'child'(<oNæk>, for you non-unicodey people). In the non-singular, this is <oŋækci>. Now, the non-singular indicates a plural only of animate objects, and, for that matter, countable animate objects(not mass nouns). As well as these, adjectives and demonstratives take on a plural ending <-ha>, indicating plurality of the modified noun - or, more relevantly to your question, a mass noun. For instance, take the demonstrative <mo> 'that'. When applied to, say, <siya> 'rice', it will take on <-ha>, creating the phrase <moha siya>'that rice'. So, the answer's somewhere between two and three.