The Papuan language Mian allows us to refine the typology of nominal classification. Mian has two candidate classification systems, differing completely in their formal realization but overlapping considerably in their semantics. To determine whether to analyse Mian as a single system or concurrent systems we adopt a canonical approach. Our criteria – orthogonality of the systems (we give a precise measure), semantic compositionality, morphosyntactic alignment, distribution across parts of speech, exponence, and interaction with other features – point mainly to an analysis as concurrent systems. We thus improve our analysis of Mian and make progress with the typology of nominal classification.

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Published in Linguistic Typology, v. 21, issue 2, p. 209-260.

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.

The copyright holder has granted the permission for posting the article here.

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This research was funded by the AHRC (UK) under grants AH/K003194/1 “Combining Gender and Classifiers in Natural Language” and AH/N006887/1 “Lexical Splits: A Novel Perspective on the Structure of Words”.