Download Count and Mass Across Languages by Diane Massam PDF

By Diane Massam

This quantity explores the expression of the suggestions count and mass in human language and probes the complicated relation among likely incontrovertible features of which means and their various grammatical realizations throughout languages. In English, count number nouns are those who could be counted and pluralized (two cats), while mass nouns can't be, at the least no longer with out a switch in which means (#two rices). The chapters during this quantity discover the query of the cognitive and linguistic universality and variability of the techniques count and mass from philosophical, semantic, and morpho-syntactic issues of view, touching additionally on matters in acquisition and processing. the quantity additionally considerably contributes to our cross-linguistic wisdom, because it contains chapters with a spotlight on Blackfoot, Cantonese, Dagaare, English, Halkomelem, Lithuanian, Malagasy, Mandarin, Ojibwe, and Persian, in addition to dialogue of numerous different languages together with Armenian, Hungarian, and Korean. the final consensus of this quantity is that whereas the overall innovations of count and mass can be found to all people, kinds of grammaticalization concerning quantity, classifiers, and determiners play a key position of their linguistic remedy, and certainly in even if those techniques are grammatically expressed in any respect. this alteration might be replicate the truth that count/mass is only one attainable recognition of a deeper and broader proposal, itself on the topic of the kinds of nominal and verbal element.

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These semantic consequences could be described in terms of some semantic features that somehow mirror the syntactic ones. 7 A different approach In this section I’ll lay out an approach that honors what I think is right about the syntactic approach and what I think is right about the semantic approach, but which avoids the flaws of both. The overall view is that lexical nouns are neither mass nor count, but that they are both mass and count. The next two subsections explain how this can happen. 1 Lexical nouns are neither þ MASS nor þ COUNT Syntactically speaking, the proposal is that lexical nouns do not have any syntactic marker for þ mass or þ count, but the phrases they occur in can become marked Francis Jeffry Pelletier 18 either þ mass or þ count.

An alternative way of putting this is that lexical nouns are unspecified for the syntactic features þ mass/ þ count. In this way the existence of ‘dual life’ nouns is no problem—there aren’t any, really. Instead, sometimes the noun syntactically composes to form a larger phrase that is þ mass, sometimes it forms one that is þ count. Chocolate, for example, is neither þ mass nor þ count, but composed with a to form a chocolate, the resulting NP is marked as þ count; when composed with much to form much chocolate, the resulting NP is marked þ mass.

As well, the observed syntactic violations that are attributed to violations of the restrictions on þ mass and þ count are honored: they do in fact occur, and the violations are just as described—except that the violations are caused by these features as they occur on longer phrases, not in the lexical items. Thus (18) *much honeys is bad because honeys has been marked þ count à la (iii) and (as the syntactic approach had already alleged in (8) above), much cannot be combined with þ count on syntactic grounds.

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