Typological Accounts for Nominal Forms

Eun-Joo Kwak 1 ,
Author Information & Copyright
1Sejong University
Corresponding Author : Eun-Joo Kwak, Department of English Language and Literature, Sejong University 98 Gunja-dong, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul 143-747, Korea. Phone: +82-2-3408-3633; Email:

Copyright ⓒ 2016, Sejong University Language Research Institue. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Sep 08, 2011; Revised: Oct 30, 2011; Accepted: Nov 17, 2011

Published Online: Jan 01, 2017


Various linguistic phenomena may serve a basis for the classification of languages and nominal forms make part of the criteria for the classification. In this study, two major approaches are closely compared for language typology based on nominal forms. Chierchia (1998a, b) assumes that morpho-syntactic features should be crucial in determining the denotations and grammatical categories of NPs. He suggests three classificatory categories with the notion of nominal mapping parameters. Contrastingly, the OT analysis of de Swart & Zwarts (2009, 2010) do not assume that morpho-syntactic features should be collapsed with countability and plurality. They propose several general constraints governing nominal forms and argue that different ordering of the constraints in optimality accounts for different nominal forms crosslinguistically. I have shown that the OT analysis provides an appropriate framework to categorize languages systematically.

Keywords: countability; plurality; optimality; markedness constraint; faithfulness constraint



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