Just one question about the use of PL1 / PL2:
I understood that PL1 refers to small groups, or people you are familiar
with (e.g family, friends, passengers) and PL2 refers to large groups or
unknown people.
In this way, a teacher would use PL1 to refer to their class but a
passer-by seeing the students would use PL2. (am I right?)

So, what would use a president/king/prime minister to refer to the
population of the country?
What about a mayor referring to the population of the city?

They do know an approximate number of people living in the country/city.
Would it be enough to use PL1? If not, I think this is too artificial
except if "PL1 = paucal" (and not "PL1 = exact number").
Wouldn't they use PL1 to seem closer to the population, in the same way the
partner used PL2 referring to the newcomers to keep them apart? (see
Spanish *"estos*" / "*esos*" maybe?)


2015-07-21 10:39 GMT+02:00 Juanma Barranquero <[log in to unmask]>:

> Hi everybody.
> (Sort of) first time poster here, though I've been lurking a long time.
> I'm working on my first conlang. Not phonetics, though I know the dictum
> about "phonetics first". Unfortunately, I'm not a linguist (I'm a computer
> guy) and most phonetics here go way over my head, so in that regard I'll
> stick with something simple and easy for Spaniards, as it matches my target
> group (fellow roleplayers, mostly). I can always expand it later (I'll be
> of course open to suggestions of any kind).
> My conlang is not yet named, though I call it Gig for now, as the
> conculture speakers are prototypical humanoid Giants.
> So, I'm working on morphology, syntax, etc. Currently I'm thinking of a
> VSO, fluid-S language, and I'm valiantly resisting the new-conlanger's
> impulse of going down the highly-agglutinative route ;-)
> The question I have is related to plurals.
> So, in Gig, number is a variant of a singular/paucal/plural system. Let's
> call these SG, PL1, PL2.
> Singular (SG) is unmarked. PL1 and PL2 are marked with prefixes.
> PL1 is sort of a paucal, but not used to count few things, but "definite"
> numbers of things. PL2 is used when the number is neither known nor easily
> determinable.
> So, for example: if you're talking about the passengers in a car, you'll
> use PL1. If you're talking about the stars in the sky, or the drops of
> water in the ocean, you'll use PL2. But you would also use PL1 if you're a
> teacher and refer to the number of students in your current class, even if
> they're 20 or 30 or more. Talking about your family would likely use PL1,
> because it can grow or shrink, but usually does so slowly and, in a
> specific point in time, it is a very easily determinable number (you could
> always just enumerate all your family members, for example). Talking about
> Spain's (or the world's) population would always be PL2, because there is
> no way to determine the precise number in any way.
> Choosing between PL1 and PL2 is really a subjective issue related to how
> you perceive the number of items involved. If you're going to fly to Hawaii
> and speak about the passengers that will be with you in the plane, you'll
> use PL2, even if it is a specific number, because you don't know it and
> can't easily determine it. The plane's captain would perhaps use PL1 if he
> knows that the crew + passengers add up to 205 people. On the other hand,
> if you are talking about a plane crash in the news (apologies for the
> morbid example), you'll likely use PL1, even if you don't remember the
> number of people involved, because it is a very definite number, fixed
> forever and likely to be quoted literally in news reports and the like.
> Of course, joke or ironic uses are possible, and perhaps even frequent.
> Using PL1 to talk about a party (insinuating that it was a failure), or PL2
> if you're having a romantic dinner with your partner and you can't get rid
> of an unexpected newcomer (to clearly convey that "three is a multitude")
> would fall into that pattern.
> So, it's not really a singular / paucal / plural systems as much as
> singular / definite / indefinite.
> Are there natlangs that do this? How would you refer to these plurals? How
> would you gloss them? And, more importantly: does it make sense, or it is
> waaaaay too artificial?
> Thanks in advance,
>       Juanma