N2 02_Noun Numeral (indefinite)

The property Noun Numeral (indefinite) is “yes” if at least one numeral can follow the noun and the noun phrase is an indefinite noun phrase.

A noun phrase is indefinite if:

1. It can occur in an existential context:

There are …................ in the house.

2. If a language does not have a clearly marked existential construction, the following scenario can be used to elicit an indefinite noun phrase:

Context: You are driving with a friend on a road, and it is getting dark. All of a sudden your friend shouts:

Watch out! There are ….............on the road!

If Noun Numeral can occur in this context, it is an indefinite noun phrase. (adapted from Violeta Vázquez-Rojas 2011 ex. 17)

General Note on Word Order Properties: A "yes" value for Noun Numeral (indefinite) does not exclude a "yes" value for Numeral Noun (indefinite).

This property is NA if the language has no Numerals, or if Numerals can never be part of the Noun Phrase.


English is ‘no’ for this property as no numeral can follow the noun in this context:

*there are chairs two in the house

Gungbe (Porto Novo) is ‘yes’ for this property:

Kpɔ́n! vì àwè tò àlìò (lɔ́ ) jí
look child two LOC road DET on
'Look! There are two children on the road.'

Comment: The DET lɔ́ following road is optional in this sentence.
(Example provided by Enoch Aboh.)

Malagasy is yes for this property:

Tandremo! Misy zaza roa any an-dalana
Watch.out.TT.IMP! AT.exist child two not.visible.there LOC-road
Watch out! There are two children on the road.

Comment: The locative any "there" stresses not visible or hardly visible. (eny instead of any implies visibility, eo would be visible, and closer then eny/any). The imperative tandremo is based on the TT (theme voice) form tandrem.o, suggesting the syntactic presence of a definite object (watch it). The AT (=actor voice) imperative would be mandre.a = m.aN.tandre.a ).’ (Example provided by Edward Keenan)
Contributed by: Hilda Koopman
Language Value Contributor Comments
+ =Hoan Yes Chris Collins
  Words: kyěamà qaẽ
  Gloss: dog three
  Translation: “three dogs” (Collins and Gruber: 148).
  Comment: =Hoan does not have definite/indefinite articles and is solely context dependent (Collins and Gruber: 96). The examples are from the grammar by Collins, Chris and Gruber, Jeff. 2012. A Grammar of ǂHȍã.
  Contributor: Hannah Kim
   Acehnese No Julie Legate
   Afrikaans No Theresa Biberauer
+ Agni indénié Yes Amoikon Dyhié ASSANVO
  Words: àkɔ́ nzà̰
  Gloss: Poulet trois
  Translation: Les trois poulets.
  Contributor: Amoikon Dyhié ASSANVO
  Words: M- maa mmienu wɔ dan no mu.
  Gloss: pl- woman two be.located room Def in
  Translation: There are two women in the room
  Contributor: AUGUSTINA OWUSU
  Words: M- maa mmienu bi wɔ dan no mu.
  Gloss: pl- woman two Indef(spec) be.located room Def in
  Translation: Some specific two women are in the room
  Contributor: AUGUSTINA OWUSU
+ Albanian No Dalina Kallulli
  Words: *Në rrugë ka pemë dy.
  Gloss: in street has trees two
  Translation: There are two trees in the street
  Comment: This is fine with a comma intonation between pemë and dy
  Contributor: Dalina Kallulli
   Amharic No Girma Demeke
+ Ancient Greek Yes Richard Faure
  Words: hippeîs treîs aggéllousin hóti
  Gloss: horseman-PL 3 report-PST.3PL that
  Translation: Three horsemen reported that
  Comment: Xenophon, Hellenica, 4.5.8 (this configuration is actually rare)
  Contributor: Richard Faure
+ Arabic, Gulf No Dimitrios Ntelitheos
  Words: * Ahmed qaraa keteb thalath
  Gloss: Ahmed read.PST book.PL three
  Translation: Ahmed read three books
  Contributor: Shaikha Saeed
   Armenian (Eastern) No Sona Haroutyunian
   Babanki Yes Pius Akumbu
+ Bafut Yes Pius Tamanji
  Words: bàntɔ̀ɔ̀ bíbáà
  Gloss: pots two
  Translation: Two pots
  Contributor: Pius Tamanji
  Words: bɔ́ɔ́ bíbáá tsí mánjì
  Gloss: children two sit road
  Translation: There are two children on the road
  Contributor: Pius Tamanji
   Bambara Yes Hilda Koopman
   Bandial Yes Wolfgang Berndt
   Bardi Yes Claire Bowern
   Basaa Yes Paul Roger Bassong
   baule-kôdeh Yes Andréa ALLA
   Beng Yes Denis Paperno
   Bengali Yes Priyanka Biswas OK with nouns of temporal duration, e.g., day, month, week, year etc., optionally followed with a vague 'one'. For example, din (day) dui-(ek) (two-one) 'two days'. Always indefinite
+ Bole Yes Alhaji Gimba
  Words: gamshine bawulo
  Gloss: rams seven
  Translation: seven rams
  Contributor: Alhaji Gimba
   Brazilian Portuguese No Bruna Moreira
   Burmese Yes Timothy Ho
   Calabrian (Northern) No Giuseppina Silvestri
+ Cantonese (Guangzhou) Yes Zixian Qiu
  Words: fong leoibin jau dang saam zoeng
  Gloss: room inside have chair three CLF
  Translation: There are 3 chairs inside the room.
  Comment: Not as productive as Numeral Noun (indefinite)
  Contributor: Zixian Qiu
   Catalan No Victoria Mateu
   Chickasaw Yes Pam Munro
+ Cypriot Greek No Marios Andreou
  Words: *En mora tria mes tin stratan.
  Gloss: are children three in the street
  Translation: There are three children in the street.
  Contributor: Marios Andreou
   Czech No Pavel Caha
   Dagaare Yes Adams Bodomo
   Danish No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
+ Dholuo Yes Hilda Koopman
  Words: nitie kombe adek e ot
  Gloss: there.are chairs three in house
  Translation: there are three chairs in the house
  Contributor: Hilda Koopman
  Words: né ! nitie ngaw adek e ndara
  Gloss: Look.imp! there.is bushbuck three on road
  Translation: Watch out! there are three bushbucks on the road
  Contributor: Hilda Koopman
+ Dida Lakota (diéko) Yes Gohon Fabienne Stéphanie Attéby
  Words: wɛ̰́nɛ̰́ sɔ́
  Gloss: woman.PL two
  Translation: two women
  Contributor: Gohon Fabienne Stéphanie Attéby
+ Digo Yes Steve Nicolle
  Words: atu a-iri a-njina
  Gloss: CL2.people CL2-two CL2-other
  Translation: two other people
  Contributor: Steve Nicolle
   Digor Ossetic No David Erschler
   Dutch No Hilda Koopman
   Eastern Armenian No Karine Megerdoomian
   English No Katie Redderson-Lear
   English (Singapore) No Adam Chong
   Ewe Yes Chris Collins
   Faroese Yes Hjalmar Páll Petersen
+ Fijian Yes Zhenyu Sun
  Words: katu tolu
  Gloss: fathom three
  Translation: ‘three fathoms’
  Contributor: Zhenyu Sun
   Finnish No Anders Holmberg
   French No Vincent Homer
   Frisian (West Frisian) No Jarich Hoekstra
+ Ga Yes Mary Esther Kropp Dakubu
  Words: tsũ̀-ì ényɔ̃̀
  Gloss: building-PL two
  Translation: two buildings
  Comment: In some contexts could also be interpreted as definite
  Contributor: Mary Esther Kropp Dakubu
   galician No Naír García
   Garifuna No Pam Munro
   georgian No Lea Nash
   German No Viola Schmitt
   Ghɔmáĺá' Yes Francine Moguo
   Gothic Yes Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
+ Greek No Arhonto Terzi
  Words: *Prosoxi! Ine skilia dio sto dromo!
  Gloss: attention. are dogs two in.the street
  Translation: Attention! There are two dogs in the street
  Contributor: Arhonto Terzi
   Greek (Calabria) No Cristina Guardiano
   Greek (Cappadocian) No Petros Karatsareas
   Greek (Homer) Yes Cristina Guardiano
   Greek (Medieval) Yes Io Manolessou
   Greek (Pontic) No Cristina Guardiano and Dimitris Michelioudakis
   Guébie Yes Hannah Sande
+ Gungbe (Porto-Novo) Yes Enoch Oladé Aboh
  Words: Kpɔ́n! vì àwè tò àlìò (lɔ́ ) jí
  Gloss: look child two LOC road DET on
  Translation: 'Look! There are two children on the road.'
  Contributor: Enoch Oladé Aboh
  Words: Kpɔ́n! vì àwè tò àlìò (lɔ́ ) jí
  Gloss: Look child two LOC road DET on
  Translation: Look! There are two children on the road.'
  Comment: The DET lɔ́ following road is optional in this sentence.
  Contributor: Enoch Oladé Aboh
   Haitian No Michel DeGraff
   Hakka No Iris Wu
+ Hausa Yes Michael A. Estrada
  Words: kujeru biyu
  Gloss: chair.PL two
  Translation: two chairs
  Contributor: Michael A. Estrada
+ Hebrew Yes Ur Shlonsky
  Words: yeš kise exad b.a bayt
  Gloss: be chair one in.the house
  Translation: 'there is one chair in the house'
  Comment: Only possible with 'one'.
  Contributor: Ur Shlonsky
+ Hebrew (Biblical) Yes Massimo Gargiulo
  Words: 'od 'ish echad (2 Chron 18,7)
  Gloss: yet.ADV man.MSG one.MSG
  Translation: (there is) yet one man
  Comment: Verb to be understood: previous v. has the question: "Is there not here a prophet?", with verb epressed
  Contributor: Massimo Gargiulo
   Hindi No Gurprit Bains
   Hungarian No Anna Szabolcsi
   Ibibio Yes Willie Willie
   Icelandic No Jim Wood
   Igbo Yes Mary Amaechi
   Iha Yes Mark Donohue
   imbabura quichua No UCLA Linguistics 210
   Indonesian Yes Mark Donohue
   Iron Ossetic No David Erschler
+ Italian No Cristina Guardiano
  Words: * nella casa ci sono sedie tre
  Gloss: in the house there are chairs three
  Contributor: Cristina Guardiano
   Italian (Napoletano Antico) No Adam Ledgeway
   Italian (Reggiano) No Giovanni Roversi
   Japanese Yes Ken Hiraiwa
   K'iche' No Pam Munro
   Kannada (Bengaluru-Mysore) Yes Amrit Amritavalli
   Khasi No Gracious Temsen
   KiLega Yes Kasangati Kinyalolo
   Kinande Yes Patricia Schneider-Zioga and Philip Mutaka
+ Kiyaka Yes Lukowa Kidima
  Words: bifúndá bíyá bitúdìdì
  Gloss: 8.package 8.four 8S.tul.idi (arrive.RECPST)
  Translation: Four packages arrived
  Comment: Different form from definite N Num; Recent past must be used here, perfect is not possible.
  Contributor: Lukowa Kidima
   Kom Yes Richard Kwamong
+ Korean Yes Grace Lee
  Words: congi twu.cang iss.e.yo
  Gloss: Paper two.NCL exist.e. formal
  Translation: There are two sheets of paper
  Comment: 종이 두장 있어요
  Contributor: Grace Lee
   Kuot No Eva Lindström
   Kurdish (Sorani) No Yadgar Karimi
+ Kusaal Yes Hasiyatu Abubakari
  Words: bgana ata
  Gloss: book.NC(PL) three
  Translation: ‘three books’
  Contributor: Hasiyatu Abubakari
   Kusunda No Mark Donohue
   Laal Yes Florian Lionnet
   Lango Yes Arwa Rangwala
+ Lao Yes Alif Silpachai
  Words: mii mae.nying juu haa khon
  Gloss: have woman DUR five CLF
  Translation: There are five women
  Contributor: Alif Silpachai
   Latin Yes Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Latin (Late) Yes Chiara Gianollo
   Lebanese Arabic No Lina Choueiri
   Lithuanian No Felix Thies
   Maasai (Kisongo) Yes Hilda Koopman
   Mada No Bebey Théodore
   Malagasy Yes Hilda Koopman
   Malayalam No Mythili Menon
+ Mandarin Yes Arthur Wang Not as frequent/productive as Num N
  Words: fangjian li you yizi san zhang
  Gloss: room in have chair three CLF
  Translation: There are three chairs in the room.
  Contributor: Zixian Qiu
+ Marshallese No Heather Willson Sturman
  Words: *E-or armej ruo ilo mweo.
  Gloss: 3sg-exist person two in the.house
  Translation: There are two people in the house.
  Contributor: Heather Willson Sturman
   Miya Yes Michael A. Estrada
   Moroccan Arabic Yes Arwa Rangwala
+ Muyang Yes Bebey Théodore
  Words: Bezza kru tó bú a magma
  Gloss: Children ten 3pl be at home
  Translation: Children ten 3pl be at home “There are ten children at home”
  Contributor: Bebey Théodore
+ Nahuatl (Central Huasteca) No John Garcia
  Words: nochan oncah amochtli eyi *
  Gloss: 1SG.P-house existential ‘be’ books three
  Translation: "there are three books at my house* "
  Comment: Language Consultant: Eduardo de la Cruz
  Contributor: John Garcia
   Nahuatl (Classical) No John Garcia
+ Nawdm Yes Hannah Kim
  Words: bɛ̀ːrè bóbɔ̀g bá bèːré?èbá hɔ́l bèː bá
  Gloss: girls tall CM CM-two-CM black some CM
  Translation: "two tall black girls" (10).
  Comment: All setting and examples come from the database from a two quarter fieldmethods class at UCLA in 1998. (Albro, 1998)
  Contributor: Hannah Kim
   nda'nda' Yes Christelle Niguieu Toukam
   Neapolitan No Giuseppe Samo
   Nepali No Mark Donohue
   Nkore-Kiga Yes Hilda Koopman
   Norwegian No Marit Julien
+ Nupe Yes Jason Kandybowicz
  Words: takun-zi guta ya
  Gloss: rock-pl three fall
  Translation: 'Three rocks fell.'
  Contributor: Jason Kandybowicz
   Nweh Yes Hilda Koopman
   Okinawan Yes Ken Hiraiwa
   Old English No Willem Koopman there are examples in poetry (e.g. ymb wucan thriddan 'over weeks three', but examples in prose are dubious
   Old French No Heather Burnett
+ Old Saxon Yes George Walkden
  Words: huuô hîr uuegos tuêna liggead an thesumu liohte
  Gloss: how here ways.NOM two.NOM lie in this.DAT light.DAT
  Translation: how there are two ways in this world
  Comment: (Heliand 1771-1772)
  Contributor: George Walkden
   Oluwanga Yes Dimitrios Ntelitheos
+ Oluwanga (Eji) Yes Ceciliane Odangah
  Words: E - fi- sala fi-taru fi -li mu-nzu
  Gloss: AUG-8-chair 8-three 8-are LOC-house
  Translation: There are three chairs in the house’
  Contributor: Ceciliane Odangah
   One Yes Mark Donohue
   panjabi No Gurprit Bains
   Papuan Malay No Mark Donohue
   Pashto No David Pate
   Pima No Marcus Smith
   Polish No Barbara Tomaszewicz
   Portuguese No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Q'anjob'al No Kathleen O'Flynn
   Romanian No Monica Alexandrina Irimia
   Russian Yes Denis Paperno
   Samoan Yes Hilda Koopman
   San Dionisio Ocotepec Zapotec No George Aaron Broadwell
   Sandawe Yes Helen Eaton
   Sasak No Nur Ahmadi and Eli Asikin-Garmager
   Scottish Gaelic No David Adger
   Senaya No Laura McPherson
   Shupamem no Abdoulaye Laziz Nchare
+ Sicilian No Cristina Guardiano
  Words: * mi ligghìi lìbbra tri
  Gloss: to.me I.read books three
  Translation: I read three books
  Contributor: Cristina Guardiano
   Skou Yes Mark Donohue
   Slovenian No Franc Marušič
   Spanish No Victoria Mateu
+ Swedish No fredrik heinat
  Words: *Det är kakor två i burken
  Gloss: there are cookies two in jar.DEF
  Comment: This order between noun and numeral isn't possible
  Contributor: fredrik heinat
   Swiss German No Cecile Meier
   Tagalog No Edith Aldridge
   Taiwanese Southern Min No Arthur Wang
+ Teramano No Iara Mantenuto
  Words: *tʃi ʃta sidʒdʒə tri dentra la kasə
  Gloss: there are chairs three in the house
  Translation: there are three chairs in the house
  Contributor: Iara Mantenuto
   Thai Yes Peter Jenks
   Tigre NA Zhenyu Sun
+ Tommo-So Yes Laura McPherson
  Words: jàndúlu tɛ́mɛ̀ndɛ̀=le pɛ́-nnɔ̀ sígɛ́(-go) bándáŋkálá=nɛ kɔ́-ɛ̀ⁿ.
  Gloss: donkey 100=ASSOC 10-5 more courtyard=OBL be.PROX-3PL
  Translation: ‘There are 150 donkeys in the courtyard’ (169: 264).
  Comment: From A Grammar of Tommo So by Laura Mcpherson (2012).
  Contributor: Hannah Kim
   Triqui, Copala No George Aaron Broadwell
   Tukang Besi Yes Mark Donohue
+ Tuki (Tukombo) Yes Edmond Biloa
  Words: Karaki! vadzu vaaba va-mu n(a) ondzoo
  Gloss: be.careful! 2P.children p.2 SM2.be on N SG.road
  Translation: Be careful! There are two children on the road
  Comment: karaki! is short for: mamu (2S) o-karaki "you be careful'
  Contributor: Edmond Biloa
   Tupi (Ancient) Yes Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Turkish No Murat Kural
   Tuvan No Mark Donohue
   Twi Yes Cansada Martin
   Ukrainian Yes Roksolana Mykhaylyk
   Vata Yes Hilda Koopman
   Vietnamese No Binh Ngo
   Vlaški-Žejanski-Istro-Romanian No Zvjezdana Vrzic
   Welsh No David Willis
   West Flemish No Liliane Haegeman
   Western Armenian No Hrayr Khanjian
   Wolane No Hannah Kim
   Wolof No Mariame Sy
   Wuhu Chinese No Zhuo Chen
   Xhosa Yes Xiujie Ma
   Yémba Yes Elsie Mawamba
   Yoruba Yes Johnson Folorunso Ilori
   Zamboageño Chabacano No Grace Gaspardo
   Zulu Yes Claire Halpert