Volume 41, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0302-5160
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9781
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This article examines the approaches to classifiers within the Western tradition, ranging from the earliest accounts of the languages of Mesoamerica and East Asia from the 16th-17th centuries to ongoing discussions regarding their semantic motivation and functionality. I show that in spite of the limited attention they attracted before the 1970s, classifiers have played an important role in discussions concerning such notions as the functions of grammatical categories, the distinction between grammar and lexicon as well as the cognitive and cultural correlates of linguistic structure. In addition, I attribute common assumptions about classifiers to projections of typical properties of grammatical gender and, more generally, semantic and morphosyntactic properties of non-classifier languages.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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