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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Meaning on my mind: Number and the nature of cross-linguistic variation

Luisa Martí

Languages like English and Turkish have singular and plural nouns. Why, then, do you say three boys in English, with a plural noun, but üç (three) çocuk (boy) ('three boy') in Turkish, with a singular noun? How do languages with dual nouns, such as Slovenian or Imere, say two boys, and why? This project looks at patterns of numeral-noun combinations across languages and uncovers the basic primitives of number marking (singular, plural, dual, etc.) that are responsible for these patterns. In so doing, it highlights the role linguistic meaning plays in our understanding of the language faculty and of human cognition more generally.

Funded by the Leverhulme Trust research fellowship (2023-2024)

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