By Gunter Senft

Universal one of the world's languages is the phenomenon of class, a partially or totally grammatical department of the noun lexicon into exact periods that eventually derives from the human have to classify and filter out info on a number of degrees whereas speaking. during this ebook, Senft describes and develops a grammar of classificatory debris in Kilivila, an Austronesian language of the Trobriand Islanders in Papua New Guinea. Drawing principally on his anthropological and linguistic fieldwork within the islands, and emphasizing using classifiers in a social context, Senft offers quantitative facts and a statistical profile of the prestige and use of those debris, and the classifier approach that employs them.

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1 Referential Function—Concord As mentioned previously, CPs perform the referential function of securing concord between the nouns and the word classes that use CPs in their word formation. This concord, of course, creates redundancy in the information conveyed by a sentence, as was illustrated in examples (1) and (2). 3). The complex inventory of CPs allows speakers to classify a noun "temporarily" (Berlin 1968:175), that is, to emphasize certain characteristics of the referent of the noun. This is illustrated by the following examples (from G.

After a description of the morphological 19 That it is possible to describe the semantic domains constituted by the CPs as dynamic, open systems is convincingly demonstrated by Miram's (1983) monograph. 20 As far as I know, only Asmah (1972:96); Becker (1975:120); Demuth et al. (1986); Dixon (1986:110-111); Erbaugh (1986); Jacob (1965); and Kolver (1982a:107, 115, 120) discuss possible processes of language change affecting CP systems. 21 The CP system of Kilivila is mentioned briefly in the following publications: Allan (1977:285, 288, 290, 295-296, 299, 300, 303-305); Chin (1989:24-25); Friedrich (1970:401-403); Greenberg (1975:18-19; 1978:78).

Levinson 1983:172-177) on the speaker's choice of a certain CP is a problem sometimes mentioned but not illustrated by relevant data. Symptomatic of the state of the art with respect to this question is Berlin's (1968:23) statement (which he does not indicate is a hypothesis) that "The actual occurrence of numeral classifiers in recorded texts is relatively low . . " He then concludes that the occurrence of CPs in various contexts can be ignored in analyzing the CP systems of individual languages, and supports this conclusion with the statement that ".

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