Quantifiers

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In Sereer quantification is obtained via several different syntactic strategies.

Partitive

'Some' is obtained with the noun-class-less plural determiner week (see Determiners and Demonstratives):

  1. week    a-   ndang  -a   week  a-   ɓaalig  
    pl-Det  3pl  white  3pl  some  3pl  black   
    'Some are white and some are black.'

The 'most' and 'x number of' partitive quantifier is expressed as in a construction similar to the one found in the superlative.

  1. ke  moʄ     na   may   na    xa-    bul      axe  a-   ƥalg      -a   ƥalig  
    Cl  exceed  Rel  many  Part  pl-Cl  marbles  Det  3sg  be-black  3sg  black  
    'Most of the marbles are black.'
  1. o   leng  na    xa     ƥox   axe  a-   rang   -a   ranig  
    Cl  one   Part  pl-Cl  dogs  Det  3pl  white  3pl  white  
    'One of the dogs is white.'

Note: the na in the above sentence is not the relative pronoun but a partitive preposition 'of'. The following sentence illustrates that they are distinct:

  1. xa-    bul      axe  ƥalig  na   na    xa-    bul      axe  mayee   
    pl-Cl  marbles  Det  black  Rel  Part  pl-Cl  marbles  Det  exceed  
    'The marbles that are black among the marbles are more'

'The rest of' is expressed in the same syntactic construction as 'most of', but using the verb yok 'to remain':

  1. ke  yok     na    o-     bul  o-   leng  yaxg  -u  
    Cl  remain  Part  sg-Cl  Agr  one  red   Adj       
    'The remaining one marble is red'

'Half of' is expressed with the verb xaj 'to divide', but without the ke- clitic, and often appears as an adverb (see the Adverbs section):

  1. xaj   na    xa     bul      axe  a-   ƥalg      -a   ƥalig  
    half  Part  pl-Cl  marbles  Det  3pl  be-black  3pl  black  
    'Half of the marbles are black.'
  1. xaj   lakas   le   a-   yaxig  
    half  others  Det  3pl  red    
    'Half of the others are red.'

It is unclear what the function of the ke clitic is (observed in (2) and (5)), and exactly what it is (whether a determiner or a pronoun). It may be the general plural clitic ke but more environments need to be observed.

Existential quantifier

Expressions equivalent to 'there is/are' in English can be obtained in several ways in Sereer. One strategy is with the verb 'have' jeg:

  1. a-   jeg   -a   xa-    ƥox   xa-  ƥaal   fo   xa-    tan    
    3pl  have  3pl  pl-Cl  dogs  Agr  black  and  pl-Cl  white  
    'There are (lit. have) black dogs and white (dogs).'

Another is with the predicational copula ref with -u adjectival form:

  1. xa-    ƥox   axe  ƥalig  na   xa-    tadak  andef      -u   
    pl-Cl  dogs  Det  black  Rel  pl-Cl  five   there-are  Adj  
    'There are three dogs that are black.'
  1. xa-    bul      xa-    may      -u   
    pl-Cl  marbles  pl-Cl  be-much  Adj  
    'There are many marbles.'

'Much', 'many' and 'a lot' are expressed with the verb may 'to be a lot'.

  1. xa-    bul      xa-    may   -u   
    pl-Cl  marbles  pl-Cl  much  Adj  
    'There are a lot of marbles.'

The quantifier 'all' is expressed as the adverbial fop. The same flexibility regarding the position of the adverb in the clause applies, where fop can appear

  1. (fop)  xa     bul      axe  (fop)  nand     -u   (fop)  
    (all)  pl-Cl  marbles  Det  (all)  be-same  Adj  (all)  
    'All the marbles are the same color.'

The quantifier 'a few' is also expressed as an adverbial, ondik.

  1. (ondik)  xa     bul      axe  (ondik)  ƥalg      -u   (ondik)  
    (all)    pl-Cl  marbles  Det  (all)    be-black  Adj  (all)    
    'A few of the marbles are blue.'

Oana 09:04, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

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