Datapoint Maricopa / Occurrence of Nominal Plurality

Discuss WALS Datapoint Maricopa / Occurrence of Nominal Plurality.

2 Responses to “Datapoint Maricopa / Occurrence of Nominal Plurality”

  1. Jonathan Geary Says:

    Piipaash (aka Maricopa) is classified as “Only human nouns, obligatory”, but a better designation would be “All nouns, always optional”.

    The optional nature of plural marking in Piipaash (and most other Yuman languages) is well-established: “Like verbs, those nouns which do have overtly plural forms are often used in the unmarked forms for plural referents. (Thus the marking of plurality is not obligatory.)” (Gordon 1986:29; see also Langdon 1992).

    However, some of the few nouns which have possible plural forms include those with non-human referents. This is noted by Gordon (1986:29): “The nouns which have plural forms are all animate and most are human”, and this is supported by examples like “xat” [xat] ‘dog’ (pl. “xaat” [xa:t] ‘dogs’; Gordon 1986:29, Langdon et al. 1991) and “mo s’aw” [mo sʔaw] ‘lamb’ (pl. “mo ts’osh” [mo tsʔoʃ] ‘lambs’; Langdon et al. 1991). The tendency for human nouns to have plural forms likely reflects the fact that (a) verbs are what are marked for plurality in Yuman languages, and those nouns which have plural forms tend to derive from verbs having plural forms, and (b) that many of these human nouns derive from such verb forms (Langdon 1992).

    References
    Gordon, Lynn. 1986. Maricopa morphology and syntax. UCPL 108. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
    Langdon, Margaret. 1992. Yuman plurals: From derivation to inflection to noun agreement. International Journal of American Linguistics 58: 405-424.
    Langdon, Margaret, et al. 1991. Maricopa – English dictionary. Prepared by Margaret Langdon and others. SRPMIC Department of Education.

  2. Jonathan Geary Says:

    Woops: Meant to say that Piipaash is currently classified as “Only human nouns, optional”.

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