What is it about?

This paper uses phylogenetic methods to investigate whether numeral classifiers arose in the Indo-Iranian languages as a response to optionality of plural marking. We find broad support for this hypothesis, though evidence also points to the development of classifiers via contact with non-Indo-Iranian languages.

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Why is it important?

Indo-Iranian languages were prone to develop and borrow numeral classifiers in the absence of other plural marking; this paper reveals cognitive constraints on language change using phylogenetic modelling.

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This page is a summary of: Numeral classifiers and number marking in Indo-Iranian, Language Dynamics and Change, October 2020, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/22105832-bja10013.
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