Volume 44, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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Plural marking reaches most corners of languages. When a noun occurs with another linguistic element, which is called associate in this paper, plural marking on the two-component structure has four logically possible patterns: doubly unmarked, noun-marked, associate-marked and doubly marked. These four patterns do not distribute homogeneously in the world’s languages, because they are motivated by two competing motivations iconicity and economy. Some patterns are preferred over others, and this preference is consistently found in languages across the world. In other words, there exists a universal distribution of the four plural marking patterns. Furthermore, holding the view that plural marking on associates expresses plurality of nouns, I propose a hypothetical universal which uses the number of pluralized associates to predict plural marking on nouns. A data set collected from a sample of 100 languages is used to test the hypothetical universal, by employing the machine learning algorithm logistic regression.


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