A dedicated nominal singular morpheme without singulative semantics

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Abstract

I show that in Digor Ossetic, an agglutinative Eastern Iranian language spoken in the Caucasus, the nominal singular morpheme has a non-null allomorph -ɐ. I provide evidence that this morpheme does not cumulatively expone any other morphological features. However, it occurs with both count and non-count nouns and therefore does not express singulative semantics. I provide a Distributed Morphology analysis of number marking in Digor Ossetic and show that the morph -ɐ either spells out Num0 or is a dissociated node adjoined to Num0. I observe that overt dedicated marking of the singular and the plural also exists in Emai and [InlineEquation not available: see fulltext.]k[InlineEquation not available: see fulltext.], Edoid languages of Nigeria, and, as was recently showed, in Kipsigis (Nilotic). Accordingly, overt dedicated marking of the singular is likely to be a robustly attested phenomenon, which provides an additional argument in favor of treating of the singular as one of the values of a binary feature, rather than an absence of a feature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-276
Number of pages28
JournalMorphology
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2022

Keywords

  • Distributed morphology
  • Morphological features
  • Morphology
  • Nominal singular marking
  • Ossetic

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