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Patterns of Continuous & Discontinuous Quantification in the Oceanic languages: A study of the languages of Malekula

In this presentation, Paperno and Keenan's (2017) study on universal quantifiers in a sample of world languages is discussed. The research reveals that all the languages examined have at least one universal quantifier meaning 'all,' functioning as nominal modifiers primarily positioned continuously within the noun phrase. However, some languages, such as Neverver and Tepërav, display discontinuous quantification where the quantifiers occur in the predicate rather than within the noun phrase. The focus of the presentation is on the forms and functions of universal quantification in the languages of Malekula. Specifically, the study investigates the distinct forms of continuous and discontinuous quantifiers in Neverver and Tepërav, indicating no evidence of a common ancestor for their morphology. The presentation also emphasizes the functional aspect of discontinuous quantification, which is strictly assigned to absolutive S/O noun phrases, while A-function nominals or non-core arguments do not show this phenomenon. Throughout the presentation, a comparative analysis is made with related languages as part of a larger study of continuous and discontinuous quantification in Oceanic. Particularly, the researchers look at Polynesian languages where *katoa is reconstructed as the Proto-Polynesian quantifier for 'all, whole' (Greenhill & Clark 2011). In conclusion, this presentation sheds light on the intricate forms and functional aspects of universal quantification in the languages of Malekula, contributing to the broader understanding of quantifiers in linguistic research.
Conference Contribution
Type of thesis
University of Waikato