Collective number

From Academic Kids

In linguistics, collective number is a number referring to a set of things. Languages that have this feature can use it to get a phrase like 'flock of sheep' by using 'sheep' in collective number.

Some languages have collectives but no grammatical plural. For example, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean do not have plurals. However, groups of people can be referred to, either by context or periphrastically (i.e., with additional words or phrases).

An example from Japanese:

  • Tanaka-san; Tanaka-san-tachi
"Mr. Tanaka"; "Mr. Tanaka and his group"

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