Home - A Grammar of the Denden Language - Abbreviations - References

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Denden has two numbers: singular (s) and plural (p). Singularity of number is unmarked and can indicate an absence of indication of number, thus be used in circumstances where the number is not known or relevant.

.   zinahama             ronyer.ur bata.Ø
    maternal_grandmother clean.pt1 kettle.s
    maternal grandmother just cleaned the pots.

Plurality of number is obligatorily marked on first and second person pronouns and optionally on third person pronouns and nouns. Although Denden cannot be said to have a gender-like distinction between animate and inanimate, animate referents are more likely to be marked for plural number than inanimate referents. Texts more closely modelled on the classical language show a marked preference for not marking for plurality, while those texts modeled on the colloquial show a preference for everywhere marking for plurality.

.   Do    qir xiwe
    1sMGH see poppy.
    I see the poppies

.   Kuna tiran.ini qiva.va
    cat  catch.HAB cricket.p
    The cat is always catching the crickets.

If a noun stands in an adjectival relation to a second noun, the dependent noun can optionally be marked for plurality if the head noun is marked for plurality too.

.   Do ray  arjah ar.ar
    1s like blue  cherry.cherry
    I like blue cherries

Although words for colours are 'natural adjectives', there is no formal difference between adjectives and nouns, and colour words can just as easily be found in plural forms:

.   ga  pal     helai.ai garal.al
    nom emperor gray.p   hair.p
    To the emperor are the gray hairs - i.e. the gray-haired, 
    the wise come to the emperor.

The way plurality of number is indicated for pronouns is discussed in the second on pronominal morphology. Plurality of number for nouns is indicated by reduplication for monosyllabic nouns, reduplication of the last syllable for bisyllabic nouns and by the suffix <-dir> for nouns of three or more syllables.

ar.ar cherries
garal.al hairs
gutizar.dir books

It is unusual to indicate plurality when a numeral or another indication of a countable quantity is used, although it is possible.

.   li di teshitlo.ar teshit beirai rasha
    QP 2p market.loc  buy    10     pomegranate
    Will you buy 10 pomegranates in the market?

Plurality is more often formally marked when a numeral is used with animate referents, especially if the number is great:

.   derni klondan rehabay.can    xmogh arsoi
    four  farmer  stalks.between drink  cherry-wine
    Four farmers drink cherry-wine between the cornstalks

.   doxaz    delai.ai wwish tan pal
    thousand girl.p   dance  for emperor 
    A thousand girls dance for the emperor 

Used with uncountable nouns or with an indication of an uncountable quantity, indication of plurality conveys the meaning of many-foldedness.

.   li di teshitlo.ar teshit weyas.as
    QP 2p market.loc  buy    fruit.p
    Will you buy fruit and so on in the market?

.   seras etet.et gever.hau
    3p    food.p  give.IMP
    Give them food and so on!

.   kemzilo tan pal     hye  lengleng wenyi.yi  wenyi.ni
    hall    GEN emperor with many     light.p   light.HAB
    The halls of the emperor are lighted by manifold lights

Lastly, with personal names or nouns indicating a certain individual the implication of indication of plurality is 'he with his folks, with his family, with his friend(s)'.

.   Hamal.al Pariyal.dir dos.ar chir.a
    Hamal.p  Pariyal.p   1p.loc visit.fut
    Hamal and his folks and Pariyal and her people will 
    visit us.

.   daine.ne oi.o     afran.e
    daine.p  city.out go.pt
    The Daine and his retinue have left the city

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