Abstract

Abstract:

This paper describes the range of strategies found in Äiwoo (a language of the Temotu subgroup of Oceanic) to mark a noun as having plural reference. Äiwoo lacks an inflectional plural, and most of the strategies typically used in Oceanic languages to indicate plurality, such as articles, reduplication, and number distinctions in demonstratives, are not found in the language. Nevertheless, Äiwoo shows a large number of strategies for marking plurality on nouns. The paper describes these strategies and their affinities with other structural aspects of the language, such as verbal pronominal marking and bound noun roots, and argues that several of their properties appear unusual both from a comparative Oceanic and a general typological perspective. Thus, it expands our understanding of what plural marking in Oceanic languages may look like, as well as adding to the typological picture of plural marking as a linguistic category and of the grammaticalization pathways through which plural forms can arise.

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