Is there anything characteristic about the meaning of a count noun?
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In English, some common nouns, like cat, can be used in the singular and in the plural, while others, like water, are invariable. Moreover, nouns like cat can be employed with numerals like one and two and determiners like a, many and few, but neither with much nor little . On the contrary, nouns like milk can be used with determiners like much and little, but neither with a, one nor many. These two types of nouns constitute two morphosyntactic sub-classes of English common nouns; cf. for instance Gillon (1992). They have been respectively called count nouns and mass nouns. In many languages, notably Romance and Germanic languages, one can similarly identify two morphosyntactic subclasses of common nouns, nouns of one class admitting singular and plural number, and nouns of the other being invariable in grammatical number.1 The question we want to address in this paper is one in lexical semantics: Is there anything characteristic about the meaning of a count noun? This question has occupied the mind of many linguists and philosophers. It is comparable in intent to: Can one give a purely semantic definition of verbs? Four proposals have been discussed in the literature.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Chris Fraser (2007). Language and Ontology in Early Chinese Thought. Philosophy East and West 57 (4):420-456.
H. W. Noonan (1978). Count Nouns and Mass Nouns. Analysis 38 (4):167 - 172.
Dieter Wunderlich (1999). German Noun Plural Reconsidered. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (6):1044-1045.
Jeffrey C. King (2001). Remarks on the Syntax and Semantics of Day Designators. Noûs 35 (s15):291 - 333.
Nino B. Cocchiarella (2009). Mass Nouns in a Logic of Classes as Many. Journal of Philosophical Logic 38 (3):343 - 361.
Roger Schwarzschild, Stubborn Distributivity, Multiparticipant Nouns and the Count/Mass Distinction.
Henry Laycock (2006). Variables, Generality and Existence. In Paulo Valore (ed.), Topics on General and Formal Ontology. Polimetrica. 27.
Henry Laycock (2005). 'Mass Nouns, Count Nouns and Non-Count Nouns'. In Alex Barber (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Elsevier.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads28 ( #61,900 of 1,101,115 )
Recent downloads (6 months)0
How can I increase my downloads?