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Are Some Languages Better than Others?$
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R. M. W. Dixon

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198766810

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198766810.001.0001

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What is desirable

What is desirable

Chapter:
(p.75) Chapter 4 What is desirable
Source:
Are Some Languages Better than Others?
Author(s):

R. M. W. Dixon

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198766810.003.0004

This chapter examines grammatical categories which are found in many—but not all—languages. They fulfil a useful function for languages in which they occur, and presumably could do so in every language. There is discussion of gender and classifiers, and of articles which mark definiteness. Then tense systems, modalities, and types of aspect. An evidentiality system provides obligatory statement of how something is known—seen, heard, inferred, reported, etc. We look at types of comparative, passive, reflexive and reciprocal constructions. And finally at how a language may have several causatives, with contrasting meanings, and also several applicatives.

Keywords:   gender, classifiers, articles, tense, modality, aspect, evidentials, comparatives, passives, causatives

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