A grammar of the Persian language by by Sir William Jones.

By by Sir William Jones.

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That there are systems of numerals, or individual numerals, that are not based on the human hand—that is, that are not quinary, decimal, or vigesimal—can be due to a number of different factors. First, some societies appear to "have no need of numbers," as Stampe (1976:596) puts it. The Andamanese are said to count no higher than '2'; Botocudo, a Macro-Ge language in Brazil, is said to have only the terms 'one' and 'many'; and the Worora language of Australia has only a single numeral root which means 'one' in the singular (iaruq), 'two' in the dual (iarurjandu), and 'three' or more in the plural (iaruguri) (Stampe 1976:596; Greenberg 1978c:256).

An analysis of the strategies employed for the expression of the various operations would be beyond the scope of the present study; suffice it to conclude with a few general remarks on the most frequently used operation—addition. Addition is encoded by means of a number of formal means, such as word order, prosodic phenomena, inflection, or some combination of these. , Greenberg 1978c; Hurford 1987:237) suggests that the most common sources are either comitative markers ('with'), which tend to be grammaticalized to conjunctions and addition markers ('and', 'plus'), and location markers, where morphemes for 'on' and 'upon' (called the "superessive link" by Greenberg) are used in a metaphorical fashion: "If we add three items to ten, then the three are put on the heap of ten and not vice versa" (Greenberg 1978c:265).

Numerals derived from such expressions are therefore hardly likely to have nominal properties. In Zulu, for example, the numerals '6' through '9' are derived from concrete expressions that describe the conventionalized pattern of counting by using fingers, as can be seen in table 2-5. The numeral forms in the table suggest that while the conceptual sources of '6' and '7' are nominal, those of '8' and '9' are nominalized verb phrases. Accordingly, one will expect that the former two numerals are likely to have more nominal properties than the latter two.

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