Volume 3, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2665-9336
  • E-ISSN: 2665-9344
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This paper introduces noun categorization devices in nDrapa. It argues that nDrapa usually requires both numeral classifiers and verbal action classifiers to express classificatory techniques. Morphologically, classifiers are fused with numerals; without the involvement of classifiers, numerals cannot be directly associated with nouns. Classifiers can derive from the pragmatic function, in which a considerable number of classifier-derived quantifiers and adverbs reveal the adverbial function with respect to the softening voice and politeness. Historically, the majority of classifiers can trace their etyma back to nouns. This paper’s five sections explore the grammatical properties of classifiers in nDrapa. In Section 2 and Section 3, I provide background information on numerals and numeral classifiers, and describe the characteristics of verbal action classifiers in nDrapa. Section 4 explores expressions relevant to classifier-related grammatical categories. In Section 5, I summarize the pragmatic and functional properties of classifiers in nDrapa. In Section 6, I introduce the origin and development of classifiers in this language. To conclude this paper, I propose that the limited number of classifiers in nDrapa may exhibit an infant development of classificatory devices in this language.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Aikhenvald, Alexandra
    (2000) Classifiers: A Typology of Noun Categorization Devices. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/oso/9780198842019.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198842019.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  2. (2010) Imperatives and Commends. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/oso/9780198803225.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198803225.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  3. (2019) Noun categorization devices: A cross-linguistic perspective. InAlexandra Aikhenvald and Elena I. Mihas (Eds.), Genders and Classifiers: A Cross-Linguistic Typology (pp.1–29). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/oso/9780198842019.003.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198842019.003.0001 [Google Scholar]
  4. Allan, T.
    (1977) Classifiers. Languages531: 284–310. 10.2307/413103
    https://doi.org/10.2307/413103 [Google Scholar]
  5. Bai, Junwei
    (2019) Numeral classifiers in Munya, a Tibetan-Burman language. InAlexandra Aikhenvald and Elena I. Mihas (Eds.), Genders and Classifiers: A Cross-Linguistic Typology (pp.282–298). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/oso/9780198842019.003.0010
    https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198842019.003.0010 [Google Scholar]
  6. Bisang, Walter
    (1999) Classifiers in East and Southeast Asian languages: Counting and beyond. InJadranka Gvozdanović (Ed.), Numeral Types and Changes Worldwide (pp.113–186). Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110811193.113
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110811193.113 [Google Scholar]
  7. Chao, Yuen Ren
    (1968 [2011]) A Grammar of Spoken Chinese. Berkeley: University of California Press [Reprinted by the Commercial Press].
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Chirkova, Katia
    (2012) The Qiangic subgroup from an areal perspective: A case study of languages of Muli. Language and Linguistics13(1): 133–170.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Coblin, Weldon South
    (1986) A Sinologist’s Handlist of Sino-Tibetan Lexical Comparisons (Monumenta Serica Monograph Series, 18). Nettetal: Steyler Verlag. 10.4324/9781003077367
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003077367 [Google Scholar]
  10. Conklin, Nancy. F.
    (1981) The Semantic and Syntax in Numeral Classification in Tai and Austronesian. PhD dissertation, University of Michigan.
  11. Croft, William
    (1994) Semantic universals in classifier systems. Word45(2): 145–171. 10.1080/00437956.1994.11435922
    https://doi.org/10.1080/00437956.1994.11435922 [Google Scholar]
  12. Daudey, Henrëitte
    (2014) A Grammar of Wadu Pumi. Ph.D. thesis submitted toCentral for Research on Language Diversity, La Trobe University, Australia.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. DeLancey, Scott
    (1986) Toward a history of Thai classifier systems. InColette Craig (Ed.), Noun Classes and Categorization: Proceedings of a Symposium on Categorization and Noun Classification (pp.437–452). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/tsl.7.26del
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.7.26del [Google Scholar]
  14. (1998) Semantic categorization in Tibetan Honorific nouns. Anthropological Linguistics401: 109–123.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Denny, Peter J.
    (1976) What are noun classifiers good for?Papers from the Annual Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society121: 122–132.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. (1986) The semantic role of classifiers. InColette Craig (ed.), Noun Classes and Categorization: Proceedings of a Symposium on Categorization and Noun Classification (pp.297–308). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/tsl.7.19den
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.7.19den [Google Scholar]
  17. Ding, Picus Sizhi
    (2014) A Grammar of Prinmi – Based on the Central Dialect of Northwest Yunnan, China. Leiden/Boston: Brill. 10.1163/9789004279773
    https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004279773 [Google Scholar]
  18. Evans, Nicholas
    (1997) Head classes and agreement classes in the Mayali dialect chain. InMark Harvey and Nicholas Reid (Eds.), Nominal Classification in Aboriginal Australia (pp.105–146). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/slcs.37.08eva
    https://doi.org/10.1075/slcs.37.08eva [Google Scholar]
  19. Genetti, Carol and Kristine Hildebrandt
    (2004) The two adjective classes in Manange. InR. M. W. Dixon and Alexandra Aikhenvald (Eds.), Adjective Classes: A Cross-Linguistic Typology (pp.74–96). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Gong, Qunhu (龚群虎
    ) (2007) Zhabayu yanjiu扎巴语研究 [A Study of the nDrapa Language]. Beijing: The Ethnic Publishing House.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Greenberg, Joseph H.
    (1972) Numeral classifiers and substantival number: Problems in the genesis type, working papers in languages universals. Reprinted inK. Denning and S. Kemmer (Eds.), On Language: Selected Writings of Joseph H Greenberg (pp.16–93). Stanford: Stanford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Hass, Mary
    (1942) The use of numeral classifiers in Thai. Language181: 201–205. 10.2307/409553
    https://doi.org/10.2307/409553 [Google Scholar]
  23. Heine, Bernd, Ulrike Claudi and Friederike Hünnemeyer
    (1991) From cognition to grammar: Evidence from African languages. InElizabeth C. Traugott and Bernd Heine (Eds.), Approaches to Grammaticalization (Vol.11) (pp.149–188). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/tsl.19.1.09hei
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.19.1.09hei [Google Scholar]
  24. Huang, Bufan (黄布凡)
    (1990) Zhabayu gaikuang扎坝语概况 [A Survey of the nDrapa Language]. Journal of Minzu University of China (中央民族大学学报) 41: 71–82.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Huang, Bufan (黄布凡
    ) (1992) Zangmianyuzu yuyan cihui藏缅语族语言词汇 [A Tibeto-Burman Lexicon]. Beijing: Central Institute of Minorities.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Huang, Yang (黄阳
    ) (2020) Zhabayu de mingwuhua he guanxihua扎坝语的名物化和关系化 [Nominalization and Relativization in nDrapa]. Minzu Yuwen (民族语文) 41: 29–42.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Jacques, Guillaume
    (2021) A Grammar of Japhug. Berlin: Language Science Press. 10.5281/zenodo.4548232
    https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4548232 [Google Scholar]
  28. Jiang, Li
    (2015) A Grammar of Guìqióng: A Language of Sichuan. Leiden: Brill. 10.1163/9789004293045
    https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004293045 [Google Scholar]
  29. Kuteva, Tania, Bernd Heine, Bo Hong, Haiping Long, Heiko Narrog, Seongha Rhee
    (2019) World Lexicon of Grammaticalization (2nd edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/9781316479704
    https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316479704 [Google Scholar]
  30. LaPolla, Randy J.
    (2004) On nominal relational morphology in Tibeto-Burman. InYing-chin Lin, Fang-min Hsu, Chun-chih Lee, Jackson T.-S. Sun, Hsiu-fang Yang, and Dah-an Ho (Eds.), Studies on Sino-Tibetan Languages: Papers in Hornor of Professor Hwang-cherng Gong on His Seventieth Birthday (pp.43–73). Taipei: Academia Sinica.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. LaPolla, Randy J. with Chenglong Huang
    (2003) A Grammar of Qiang, with Annotated Texts and Glossary. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110197273
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110197273 [Google Scholar]
  32. Lee, Chungmin
    (2021) Definiteness, specificity, and genericity in numeral classifier languages. InChungmin Lee, Young-Wha Kim and Byeong-uk Yi (Eds.), Numeral Classifiers and Classifier Languages: Chinese, Japanese, and Korean (pp.121–136). London and New York: Routledge. 10.4324/9781315166308‑6
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315166308-6 [Google Scholar]
  33. Lee, Y.
    (1997) Classifiers in Korean. Honours thesis, Australian National University, Canberra.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Lu, Shaozun (陆绍尊
    ) (2007) Queyu yu却域语 [The Choyo Language]. InHongkai Sun, Zengyi Hu and Xing Huang (Eds.), Zhongguo de yuyan中国的语言 [The Languages in China] (pp.1059–1075). Beijing: The Commercial Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Lü, shuxiang (吕叔湘
    ) (2006) Xiandai Hanyu Babaici现代汉语八百词 [The Eight Hundred Words in Mandarin]. Beijing: The Commercial Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Lyons, J.
    (1977) Semantics (2 vols). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511620614
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511620614 [Google Scholar]
  37. Matisoff, James A.
    (2015) The Sino-Tibetan Etymological Dictionary and Thesaurus. Berkeley: University of California. Data available online at the STEDT database accessed viastedt.berkeley.edu/~stedt-cgi/rootcanal.pl/ on 2022-07-01.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Matthews, Stephen
    (2006) Cantonese grammar in areal perspective. InAlexandra, Aikhenvald and R. M. W. Dixon (Eds.), Grammars in Contact. A Cross-Linguistic Typology (pp.220–236). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Nagano, Yasuhiko and Marielle Prins
    (2013) rGyalrongic Language Database. Minpaku. Accessed via STEDT databasestedt.berkeley.edu/search/ on 2022-07-06.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Shirai, Satoko
    (2010) Depago no ‘kaku’ o arawasu keesiki [Case markers in nDrapa]. InHideo Sawada (Ed.), Tibetto=Birumakeegengo no bunpoogensyoo 1: Kaku to sono syuuhen [Grammatical Phenomena in Tibeto-Burman Languages 1: Case and Related Phenomena] (pp.287–310). Fuchu: Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. (2019) N-based Nominalization in nDrapa. Paper presented at theFifth Workshop on Sino-Tibetan Languages of Southwest China, August 21–23, 2019. Tianjing: Nankai University.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. (2020) Dapago no meesisyuusyokuhyoogen to meesikuhyoosiki [Noun-modifying expressions and NP-use marker in nDrapa]. InPrashant Pardeshi and Kaoru Horie (Eds.), Nihongo to sekai no gengo no meesisyuusyokuhyoogen [Noun-Modifying Expressions in Japanese and Languages of the World] (pp.97–117). Tokyo: Hituzi Syobo.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. (2022) Classifiers in nDrapa: Definition and categorization. Gengo KenkyuNo.166.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Shirai, Satoko and Yang Huang (黄阳
    ) (2022) A Geolinguistic Approach to nDrapa Dialectology. Paper presented at the55th International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics, September 15–18, 2022. Kyoto: Kyoto University.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Sun, Hongkai (孙宏开
    ) (2013) Bajiangliuyu de zangmianyu八江流域的藏缅语 [The Tibeto-Burman Languages along the Eight River Area]. Beijing: China Social Sciences Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Sun, Jackson T.-S.
    (1993) Tani Synonym Sets (unpublished ms. contributed to STEDT). Accessed via STEDT databasestedt.berkeley.edu/search/ on 2022-07-08.
    [Google Scholar]
  47. Zhang, Sihong
    (2014) Numeral classifiers in Ersu. Language and Linguistics15(6): 883–915. 10.1177/1606822X14544624
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1606822X14544624 [Google Scholar]
  48. Zubin, David. A., and Mitsuaki Shimojo
    (1993) How ‘general’ are general classifiers? With special reference to ko and tsu in Japanese. InJ. S. Guenter (Eds.), Proceedings of the Nineteenth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society: General Session and Parasession on Semantic Typology and Semantic Universals191: 490–502. 10.3765/bls.v19i1.1508
    https://doi.org/10.3765/bls.v19i1.1508 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error