Journal of Semantics 26 (3):217-252 (2009)
Comparative judgments for mass and count nouns yield two generalizations. First, all words that can be used in both mass and count syntax (e.g. rock, string, apple, water) always denote individuals when used in count syntax but never when used in mass syntax (e.g. too many rocks v. too much rock). Second, some mass nouns denote individuals (e.g. furniture) while others do not (e.g. water). In this article, we show that no current theory of mass–count semantics can capture these two facts and argue for an alternative theory that can. We propose that lexical roots are not specified as mass or count. Rather, a root becomes a mass noun or count noun by combining with a functional head. Some roots have denotations with individuals while others do not. The count head is interpreted as a function that maps denotations without individuals to those with individuals. The mass head is interpreted as an identity function making the interpretation of a mass noun equivalent to the interpretation of the root. As a result, all count nouns have individuals in their denotation, whereas mass counterparts of count nouns do not. Also, some roots that have individuals in their denotations can be used as mass nouns to denote individuals
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
References found in this work BETA
Towards a Common Semantics for English Count and Mass Nouns.Brendan S. Gillon - 1992 - Linguistics and Philosophy 15 (6):597 - 639.
Comparing Semantic Theories of Comparison.Arnim Stechovonw - 1984 - Journal of Semantics 3 (1-2):1-77.
Citations of this work BETA
Language, Thought, and Real Nouns.David Barner, Shunji Inagaki & Peggy Li - 2009 - Cognition 111 (3):329-344.
A Force-Theoretic Framework for Event Structure.Bridget Copley & Heidi Harley - 2015 - Linguistics and Philosophy 38 (2):103-158.
On the Semantics of Comparison Across Categories.Alexis Wellwood - 2015 - Linguistics and Philosophy 38 (1):67-101.
Similar books and articles
Mass Nouns, Count Nouns and Non-Count Nouns.Henry Laycock - 2005 - In Alex Barber (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Elsevier.
Adverbs and Functional Heads: A Cross-Linguistic Perspective.Guglielmo Cinque - 1998 - Oxford University Press.
Stubborn Distributivity, Multiparticipant Nouns and the Count/Mass Distinction.Roger Schwarzschild - unknown
Reassessing Crosslinguistic Variation in Clausal Comparatives.Junko Shimoyama - 2012 - Natural Language Semantics 20 (1):83-113.
Evaluating Competing Linguistic Theories with Child Language Data: The Case of the Mass-Count Distinction. [REVIEW]Virginia C. Gathercole - 1986 - Linguistics and Philosophy 9 (2):151 - 190.
Part Structures, Integrity, and the Mass-Count Distinction.Friederike Moltmann - 1998 - Synthese 116 (1):75 - 111.
Variables, Generality and Existence.Henry Laycock - 2006 - In Paulo Valore (ed.), Topics on General and Formal Ontology. Polimetrica. pp. 27.
Added to index2010-09-14
Total downloads19 ( #261,720 of 2,178,195 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #316,497 of 2,178,195 )
How can I increase my downloads?