Sunday, September 11, 2016

Numbers in Sargaĺk

In the initial sprachbund of which Sargaĺk (and proto-Sargaĺk, and the whole proto-Sargaĺk-Bryatesle-Dairwueh) was part, a few tendencies with regards to numerals held.
  1. Numerals were morphologically invariant. (Except for morphemes that only served to 'structure' compound numbers)
  2. Base twenty with a subbase of ten.
  3. Numerals could be adverbials of repetition with intransitive verbs without any adpositions or other marker.
  4. Ordinal-like meanings could be obtained either by combining cardinals with adpositions (Bryatesle 'dedak', after, giving Bryatesle its off-by-one ordinal system; Dairwueh 'yil', about, like, made from, consisting of, during; Sargaĺk 'jaxru' in a sequence (or path)) or by combining the number with a variety of verbs ('stand at', 'reach', etc)
  5. Cardinals were not commonly used as attributes, but almost invariably as predicates.
  6. Ratios were not really used much; half, third, fourth and fifth had dedicated roots; larger denominators probably never appeared until the Bryatesle expansion.
  7. Ordinals for members of small sets (set sizes somewhat below 10) often were formed analogously to finger names; more general ordinals were formed by cardinal + adposition.
  8. 'all' is a numeral, and has ordinal as well as other numeral-like uses; There are two 'alls' - 'all in a relatively manageable set' and 'all (in some set of unknown size)'
  9. "none", "no", etc are not numeral-like in distribution
This has not survived entirely unchanged into Sargaĺk. Numerals, with the exception of 'one', are still morphologically invariant. The base still is twenty, and a subbase of ten still is clearly visible. Sargaĺk retains both adpositional/adnominal and verbal ways of expressing ordinals. Five is somewhat abandoned, in that numerals now freely appear as attributes. Recently ways of forming ratios of greater complexity than N/5 have developed. Ordinals by finger names can be used for orders in sets smaller than five, starting with the thumb. 'All' no longer distributes like a numeral, but one can form ordinals from it: from the greater all, 'od', the ordinal construction simply signifies the final, finally, the last one, from the set-specific all, 'odar', it signifies the most recent, the latest, the last one (of a queue or line or set).

In Bryatelse and Dairwueh, these properties have developed slightly differently: Bryatesle has given numerals case (and gender), both as independent heads of NPs and as attributes and determiners. There are but a few traces of base 20 left (the words for 200 and 400 among them). Much like in Sargaĺk, ordinals are formed by a postposition (but it has its 'off by one'-quirk). Cardinals are used as determiners and attributes, and ratios are commonplace. Names of fingers for ordinals have largely been abandoned. 'All' operates more like an indefinite determiner or pronoun.

The numbers of Sargaĺk are these (with some gaps where the forms should be predictable):
1: dər
2: yor
3: xrik
4: knər, bilon*
5: mil, salp*
6: mur
7: ćəx
8: ksen
9: lini10: təŋbar ('half-twenty')
11: dərdər
12: yoryor
13: xrikəxrik
14: knərəknər
15: xriksalp ('three hands')
16: murmur
17: ćəxćəx
18: ksenəksen
19: linilin
20: baran
21: baran dər
22: baran yor
30: xriktəŋbar ('three half twenty', 30)
31: xriktəŋbar dər
40: yorbar
50: yorbartəŋbar
51: yorbartəŋbardər
60: xrikbar
200: təŋkuton: half of 400
340: ćəxćəxbar
400: kuton
Numbers much larger than 400 are seldom used, and formed somewhat haphazardly.

As mentioned, ordinals are formed by the dummy noun jaxru. The number of repetitions something has been performed is marked by the bare numeral for intransitive verbs, but with the dummy noun k'abar (derived from the verb 'sidan', take) for transitive verbs.

The noun following the numeral is in the singular for any case but the pegative, for which the number is plural after numbers greater than one.

* bilon and salp are words denoting the four non-thumb fingers or the full palm; sometimes, they are used as numbers.

No comments:

Post a Comment