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Work Papers of the Summer Institute of Linguistics, University of North Dakota Session

Abstract

I claim that Bora classifiers have the structural status of (bound) nouns, based on facts like the following:

  • Some classifiers also occur as independent nouns (possibly with minor phonological differences).
  • Classifiers have the referential properties typical of nouns. Like typical nominals, they denote classes of objects and may refer to a member of the class they denote. They are never used to attribute properties to another referring expresssion.
  • Classifiers have the distribution typical of nouns: they may be a clausal subject, they may be modified by a relative clause, they may have a prepositional complement, and so forth.

And classifiers head noun phrases, a claim for which various arguments are given, among them one based on the remarkable similarity between the host-classifier and possessor-possessed constructions.

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