This book, first published in 2000, addresses the fundamental linguistic question of how the perceived world is expressed through systems of nominal classification that are grammatically encoded in various languages. A team of leading international scholars reviews the whole spectrum of nominal classification, from gender systems through to numeral classifiers, providing cutting-edge theoretical interpretations and empirical case studies based on a wide range of languages. The volume presents ideas about the problems of classification, advances theory by proposing typological categories and clarifies the interface between anthropological and grammatical work. Focusing on systems that have a conceptual-semantic basis, the contributors reflect and represent approaches in nominal classification research. This invaluable reference work will appeal to linguists, anthropologists and psychologists alike, as well as specialists in languages as diverse as Australian, Amazonian, Mayan and Japanese.
• Reflects and represents the latest approaches in nominal classification research; contributors include the very best-known experts • Provides original, empirical case studies across a variety of languages • Interdisciplinary interest (linguists, anthropologists, psychologists)
Preface Gunter Senft; 1. What do we really know about nominal classification systems? Gunter Senft; 2. A morphosyntactic typology of classifiers Colette Grinevald; 3. Unusual classifiers in Tariana Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald; 4. Multiple classifier systems in Akatek (Mayan) Roberto Zavala Maldonado; 5. Ant, ancestors and medicine: a semantic and pragmatic account of classifier constructions in Arrernte (Central Australia) David P. Wilkins; 6. Visualizing ability and nominal classifications: an evidence of cultural operation in the agreement rules of Japanese numeral classifiers Kyoko Inoue; 7. Isolation of units and unification of isolates: the gestalt-functions of classifiers Jürgen Broschart; 8. Bantu noun class system. Loanword and acquisition evidence of semantic productivity Katherine Demuth; 9. Gender assignment: a typology and a model Greville G. Corbett and Norman M. Fraser; 10. Systems of nominal classification - a concluding discussion John Lucy.