Numerosity structures the expression of quantity in lexical numbers and grammatical number

Current Anthropology Vol/Iss. 56(5) University of Chicago Press Published In Pages: 638-653
By Overmann, Karenleigh A.


Grammatical number (GN) is necessary for lexical numbers (LNs)


Societies lacking GN and LNs (n=2) are significantly outnumbered by both societies possessing LNs beyond five or greater (the subitization threshold) but no GN (n=75), and by societies possessing LNs beyond five and GN (n=820). If the hypothesis (that nominal plurality is necessary for developing LNs) were true, "no language lacking plurality would develop any LNs at all or would develop none higher than three or four (and there were 75 cases that did)" (p.640).


Test NameSupportSignificanceCoefficientTail
Comparison of percentagesNot Supportedn.a.n.a.n.a.


Variable NameVariable Type OCM Term(s)
Highest Number Counted (Lexical Number)IndependentNumeration
Nominal Plurality (Grammatical Number)DependentNumeration