The Syntactic Study of Numeral Classifiers in Persian

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor of Linguistics, Razi University

2 M.A. Linguistics, Razi University


This article investigates the syntactic structure of numeral classifiers in Persian DPs within the minimalist program. Numeral classifiers are morphemes by which nouns are numerated by a number category. The morpho-syntactic analysis of classifiers in comparison to the other constituents of DPs like number, based on Cheng and Sybesma (2005), Ishii (2000), Li(1998, 1999), Tang (2004), Simpson (2005), Borer (2005) reveals that contrary to Gholaamali Zaade (1374), Samaayi (1387), and Sahraayi (1389) classifiers are in  fact the head of a separate phrase referred to  as CLP, which  in turn acts as a complement for the adjacent number head. Then, following Abney (1987) we demonstrate that the head of this CLP is not a lexical head; rather it is a functional one. Regarding the function of this head, we show that not only does it have the [quantification] feature, as mentioned by Darzi and Yaarahmadzehi (1390), but also this feature is valued as [absolute], and consequently the real function of this head is to individuate the modified nouns.


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Volume 5, Issue 1 - Serial Number 1
September 2014
Pages 1-20
  • Receive Date: 27 July 2013
  • Revise Date: 04 April 2014
  • Accept Date: 07 April 2014
  • First Publish Date: 07 April 2014