This paper provides a diachronic typology of what we call ‘heterogeneous plurals’, an overarching term comprising associative plurals (expressions meaning X[person] & company) and similative plurals (expressions meaning X and similar entities). Based on a 110-language sample, we identify the most recurrent sources of these two types of plurals by means of various types of evidence (homophony/identity, internal reconstruction, comparison with cognate languages). The two types of plurals develop out of different source types: while the sources of associative plurals include elements that work as set constructors (plural anaphoric elements, plural possessives, names meaning ‘group’), those of similative plurals comprise elements with vague reference such as interrogative/indefinite items or uncertainty markers. There are also a few source types that may develop into both associative and similative plurals, such as connectives (‘and/with’) and universal quantifiers (‘every/all’). The differences in the diachronic pathways leading to the two types of plurals are explained in terms of the different referential properties of the nominal bases from which they are formed (proper names/kin terms vs. common nouns), but also taking into account the typical discourse contexts in which the two types of plurals are employed.

Heterogeneous sets: a diachronic typology of associative and similative plurals

Mauri, Caterina
Primo
;
2021

Abstract

This paper provides a diachronic typology of what we call ‘heterogeneous plurals’, an overarching term comprising associative plurals (expressions meaning X[person] & company) and similative plurals (expressions meaning X and similar entities). Based on a 110-language sample, we identify the most recurrent sources of these two types of plurals by means of various types of evidence (homophony/identity, internal reconstruction, comparison with cognate languages). The two types of plurals develop out of different source types: while the sources of associative plurals include elements that work as set constructors (plural anaphoric elements, plural possessives, names meaning ‘group’), those of similative plurals comprise elements with vague reference such as interrogative/indefinite items or uncertainty markers. There are also a few source types that may develop into both associative and similative plurals, such as connectives (‘and/with’) and universal quantifiers (‘every/all’). The differences in the diachronic pathways leading to the two types of plurals are explained in terms of the different referential properties of the nominal bases from which they are formed (proper names/kin terms vs. common nouns), but also taking into account the typical discourse contexts in which the two types of plurals are employed.
Mauri, Caterina; Sansò, Andrea
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/840885
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