Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1387-9316
  • E-ISSN: 1569-996X
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German Sign Language (DGS) displays variation in the simple plural, the form of which is conditioned by classes of phonological features within the lexicon. As a consequence, the overt realization of the plural marker is restricted to a small set of nouns specified for the appropriate phonological features, while the rest are left bare (Pfau & Steinbach 20052006Steinbach 2012). Pfau & Steinbach (2005) report a number of ‘alternative pluralization strategies’ available as repairs for this underspecification, including classifier constructions, spatial localization, and number and quantifier phrases. I propose a previously undescribed mechanism for plural marking, the ‘classifier-based plural morpheme’ (CLP), grammaticalized from the classifier system into a morpheme in the grammars of individual DGS signers. Elicitation data show that this morpheme attaches only to nouns which are specified for phonological features that restrict the realization of the canonical plural marker, adding a new option to the range of pluralization strategies available.


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