This is a synchronic study of Minangkabau classifiers. Minangkabau belongs to the Western Austronesian branch of Austronesian languages. The study discusses the morpho-syntactic properties of classifiers, the semantic dimensions underlying the categorisation of the classifiers, and their discourse functions. Then the classifier use in contemporary Minangkabau is analyzed. Generic classifiers in Minangkabau are discussed and compared to numeral classifiers.
The study is based on both spoken and written sources. The written data is primarily used to look at the structural properties of Minangkabau classifiers. The spoken one, based on field work in one area in Lima Puluh Kota, one of three main dialects of Minangkabau, is primarily used to look at the patterns of use of classifiers by different generation.
The work is done within the framework of descriptive and typological analysis. Comparison with classifier systems of other languages is drawn to describe the type and characteristics of Minangkabau classifiers. Minangkabau has generic classifiers and numeral classifiers. Generic classifiers differ from class terms for their degree of obligatoriness in an NP and their discourse functions. Numeral classifiers can be divided into sortal and mensural types. Younger people's knowledge and use of classifiers have reduced compared to that of older, more traditional people. This reduction of the inventory of classifiers in Minangkabau is possibly due to bilingualism and obsolescence of Minangkabau tradition and culture among younger people.
ISBN 9783862886432. Outstanding grammars from Australia 16. 162pp. 2016.