Functions of Bangla Classifier '-ra' in Forming Generic Sentences


  • Rupkatha Mukherjee The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad


Although the plural classifier -ra is expected to be present with all [+human] NPs and optional with the non-human animate NPs in generic statements, it behaves irregularly. It is absent in human denoting nominals manuS/lok `man'. But when the same noun is headed by an adjective, its presence is mandatory. Similar irregularities are observed in case of non-human animates also. The paper takes an interesting turn when it is observed that the function of the classifier is actually dependent on the concepts of kind and subkind terms, as used in the language. The classifier which is mandatory with subkind terms, is absent in case of superkind terms. We arrive to an intriguing conclusion about the perception of 'concepts' and 'kinds' in Bangla as opposed to the standard scientific taxonomic categorisation of species.