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Linguistic Inquiry

Fall 2012, Vol. 43, No. 4, Pages 650-679
(doi: 10.1162/ling_a_00110)
© 2012 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Flavors of Division
Article PDF (158.87 KB)

The theoretical aim of this article is to integrate the singulative into the theory of division proposed by Borer (2005) and other theoretical linguists (e.g., Krifka 1995, Doetjes 1996, 1997, Chierchia 1998, Cheng and Sybesma 1999). To illustrate my claim, I offer a brief case study of Ojibwe, an Algonquian language, which I argue uses gender shift (from inanimate to animate) to mark singulativization. Singulatives, as morphological markers, are primarily known from Celtic, Afro-Asiatic, and Nilo-Saharan languages, but are not a known feature of Algonquian languages. Further support for my claim that the grammar of Algonquian languages embeds a singulative system comes from Fox (Mesquakie).