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Le numéral une catégorie sui generis à partir de l'exemple du gbaya, une langue oubanguienne isolante à très faible morphologie

Abstract : The categorization of the Numeral (expressing number) is an ongoing question. Is it a Noun, an Adjective or a Determiner? It was historically classified in the category of Noun, as for the Adjective even when the latest was being recognized as a distinct category (Saulnier, 2011). The Cardinal is considered as a specific category by Hurford (1975) and Greenberg (2000) who investigate mainly its attributive function but do not address its role in a predicative construction nor its use as mathematical number. Studies very often are principally based on morphological criteria, particularly to distinguish between cardinal numeral and ordinal numeral. In the case of an isolating language with weak morphology as Gbaya, an Adamawa-Ubangi language (Niger-Congo) spoken in Central African Republic, the analysis is necessarily based on syntactical criteria. I will present the Numeral (i) in its function of determiner, (ii) in a predicative construction and also (iii) when used both as adverbs and as mathematical numeral. This cross of syntactic behaviours leads me to consider it as a specific category. Dedicated to express Number, the numerals, despite the fact they are lexical units whose number is no limited in theory, are actually used in my corpus (based on natural discourses) in limited number. Finally, there is no reason in Gbaya to make a distinction between cardinal and ordinal, the latter being no derived from the cardinal as in many other languages. On this subject a further examination of the semantic specificities of kpɔ́k « one » helps to better delineate the qualificative value (ordinal value for the others) corresponding to the core of its semantic field and to specify the semantic properties of Numerals.
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Paulette Roulon-Doko. Le numéral une catégorie sui generis à partir de l'exemple du gbaya, une langue oubanguienne isolante à très faible morphologie. Shigeki Kaji. Proceedings of the 8th World Congress of African Linguistics, Kyoto 2015, Research Institute for Languages and CUltures of Asia and AFRICA (ILCAA), pp.67-76, 2017, Proceedings of the 8th World Congress of African Linguistics, Kyoto 2015, 978-4-86337-233-7. ⟨halshs-01695472⟩

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