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Linguistic Inquiry

Summer 2016, Vol. 47, No. 3, Pages 527-559
(doi: 10.1162/LING_a_00220)
© 2016 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
A Split Analysis of Plurality: Number in Amharic
Article PDF (1.07 MB)

Plural morphemes are conventionally analyzed as realizations of Num-(ber). However, much recent research has investigated idiosyncratic/‘‘lexical’’ plural systems where some or all of the plural morphemes are realizations of some other syntactic head. The focus of this article is the intricate plural system of Amharic (Ethiosemitic), where there is considerable evidence that plural morphology is split between two heads: Num and the nominalizing head n. The article thus provides further empirical evidence that the morphosyntax of plurality does not involve Num alone; it also develops a novel analysis of a plural system that relies on two different morphosyntactic heads.