Typology of number systems in languages of Western and Central Siberia





Siberian languages, morphosyntax, number marking, general number, singulatives, animacy hierarchy


This paper investigates the linguistic expression of number in seven languages from Western and Central Siberia. In a first step the number system of each language is described in detail, and afterwards the most relevant convergences and divergences of the languages are dealt with. Three particularly interesting phenomena are discussed in more detail: First, it is shown that the concept of general number, denoting noun forms underspecified for number, is able to account for a range of related phenomena (unmarked noun forms after numerals, nouns denoting paired objects). Second, singulatives in Selkup, Ket and partly Eastern Khanty are analyzed, whereby it is argued that their similar morphosyntactic and grammaticalization patterns allow for analyzing them as a contact phenomenon. Third, two splits on the animacy hierarchy between the first and second person in Dolgan as well as Chulym Turkic are presented. Finally, the results are evaluated against a broader areal-typological background, whereby it is shown that the category of number does not support any larger areal groupings within Western and Central Siberia, but that the analyzed languages rather adhere to patterns of number marking present all over Northern Eurasia.


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How to Cite

Däbritz, Chris Lasse. 2021. “Typology of Number Systems in Languages of Western and Central Siberia”. Finnisch-Ugrische Forschungen 2021 (66):85–138. https://doi.org/10.33339/fuf.97288.