'and-a-half' Numeral constructions in Hindi


  • Shaunak Phadnis


Complex numerals combine via addition and multiplication in the syntax from a sequence of simplex numerals. In this paper, we investigate a novel class of numerals labeled ‘and-a-half’ numerals which can combine with simplex numerals via addition resulting in a simplex numeral. But across languages, the presence of ‘and-a-half’ limits the formation of complex numerals to only via multiplication. Further addition of another numeral in this structure considerably degrades the construction. This paper focuses on Hindi data and seeks to explain this restriction placed by ‘and-a-half’ by investigating its pragmatic role in setting standards of precision. The analysis presented here predicts that the planning component in communicating standards of precision is encoded at the phrasal level where once you set a low standard of precision you cannot arbitrarily raise it - which is exactly what happens when an additive component is introduced in the structure.