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Numerals in Formosan Languages

Paul Jen-kuei Li
Oceanic Linguistics
Vol. 45, No. 1 (Jun., 2006), pp. 133-152
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4499950
Page Count: 20
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Numerals in Formosan Languages
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Abstract

This is a general survey of cardinal numerals in Formosan languages. Most languages distinguish between human and nonhuman numerals, not only in cardinal numerals, but also for terms that have to do with number, such as 'how many/much', 'many/much', and even 'few/little'. Some languages have a third set of numerals as used in counting, different from both human and nonhuman numerals. Tables of the numerals 1-10 in the still extant Formosan languages are given in the appendixes. Most Formosan languages retain a decimal system, although a few numerals may have been modified in some of the languages. Pazih is the only language that has nearly a quinary system. Numerals may be derived from other numeral stems by addition, subtraction, or multiplication, and some are unique to Formosan languages. Numerals may function either as nouns or verbs, depending on their syntactic position, and they may appear in simple or derived form.

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