Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Fun With Numerals in Ćwarmin

Unlike the western languages Sargaĺk, Bryatesle and Dairwueh, the Ćwarmin-Ŋʒädär languages have generally had rather complicated morphology for their numerals. Ćwarmin, for instance, forms
  1. cardinals
  2. ordinals
  3. denominators
  4. every n:th
  5. number of repetitions (twice, thrice)
  6. quantified comparison (twice, thrice)
  7. quantified comparison denominators (half as, a third as)
  8. n-by-n, 'by n:s', 'alone, pairwise, triplet-wise, etc'
  9. groups of people (duo, trio, quartet, ...)
  10. a compound form for non-cardinals
  11. existential quantifier predicate
The cardinals basically are the unmarked, basic numerals. One, two and three have special roots for other forms, with 'one' having three different roots in total.
one: er(si) (1, 10, (5, alternative form)), nir (2, 3, 4, 5), nus (6,  7, 8, 9, 11)
two: mer (1, 10, (5, alternative form)), kom- (all the others)
three: siker (1, 10, (5, alternative form)), umu- (all the others)

Ordinals are formed using the morpheme -itkə-/-utko-, which is closely related to the definite marker. Denominators ('a fifth of') are expressed by the morpheme -ertə-/-orto-, which originates with the ablative marker. Expressing ratios like 'two fifths' use the compound form of two in combination with the denominator form of five:
foŋ-ur miŋv-ertə
two-COMP five-DENOM
The 'every n:th' form seems to be a merger of the ordinal and the rational: -ertitk(ə)-/-ortutk(o)-.
every seventh
Number of repetitions are marked in two different ways: either by having a marker derived from the instrumental marker -ep- (the reduced form is -iv- or -uv- (on the ordinal root, or by having the morpheme used to form habitual verbs, -alra-/-elrə- on the cardinal root. For most numerals, these are identical.

Quantified comparison is also formed in two different ways: -itiv-/-utuv- (from the definiteness marker and the instrumental marker), or -aŋźav-/-əŋźəv-, where -aŋ-/-əŋ- is related to the verbal marker -aŋźu-, signifying out-doing someone. 

Quantifying denominators are formed using -riv- or -ruv-, partially from the ablative, partially from the instrumental markers.

The n-by-n / 'social number' / etc is formed using the suffix -adaŋ/-ədəŋ. This is related to an adverbial marker -daŋ/-dəŋ. The use of this form is slightly more wide than 'n by n'. It is mainly used for expressing that some group of people do or did something in such and such number, e.g. 'they built the house, three guys, in a week'. Can also express social situations, 'we were there, just the two of us'. 'Alone' is also formed using this construction.
It can also express distributions and arrangements - things that are arranged in pairs, in triplets, etc. It is used as an adverbial, complement or sometimes attributally as an adjective.

nusadaŋ: alone, singly
komadaŋ: pairwise, 'together (re: two people)'
umadaŋ: triplet-wise, 'together (re three people)'
Duos, trios, etc - in any context - are formed using the suffix -arn/-ern. This suffix can also be used with adjectives to signify '[adj] ones'. This differs from the previous form in not being used adverbially or adjectivally.
nusarn: a person, a unit of personhood
sometimes, a joking form 'ersiərn' is used; this denotes someone who by themselves does the work of several people; he or she by themself is sufficient to be counted as some kind of 'group'
komarn: duo
umarn: trio

The compound form is used to express things like 'five thirds' or 'three halves' or whenever else one needs to count the number of some type of numeral (usually with the rational numbers; with 'every n:th' it signifies 'pick x, once every y', with the social number, it gives number of n-sized groups), number of duos, trios, etc. It is marked by -ur/-ir.
amb-ur əner-ədəŋ
eight-COMP nine-tuplet
(arranged as) eight sets of nine
The existential quantifier is basically used as a predicate expressing 'there were N of subj'. It is formed using -kece/-kaca, which might be somewhat related to the -amca complement case. The use of the existential quantifier is somewhat wider than 'there is/was/were N of subj' would imply: you also get it in constructions like 'five people know how to do that' - with 'know' in a participal form:
iś kəl-ejn miŋ-kece
it-acc know-theirs five-PRED
there are five people who know this

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