Authors
David Nicolas
École Normale Supérieure
Abstract
In many languages, common nouns are divided into two morpho-syntactic subclasses, count nouns and mass nouns. Yet in certain contexts, count nouns can be used as if they were mass nouns. This linguistic phenomenon is called conversion. In this paper, we consider the conversions of count nouns into mass nouns in French. First, we identify a general semantic constraint that must be respected in these conversions, and various cases in which a count noun can be used as a mass noun. Second, we examine the effects that semantic and pragmatic factors play in their interpretation. More precisely, we try to determine whether there are specific conventions for interpreting count -> mass conversions in French. Several arguments are discussed, having to do with considerations of theoretical economy, so-called "ambiguity tests", differences among languages as to what interpretations are available for conversions, and the strong feeling of conventionality of some uses. This leads us to postulate the existence of a number of specific conventions for interpreting conversions in French.
Keywords mass noun  count noun  conversion  semantics  pragmatics
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 63,295
External links

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

Implicature, Explicature, and Truth-Theoretic Semantics.Robyn Carston - 2013 - In Maite Ezcurdia & Robert J. Stainton (eds.), The Semantics–Pragmatics Boundary in Philosophy. Broadview Press. pp. 261.
Transfers of Meaning.Geoffrey Nunberg - 1995 - Journal of Semantics 12 (2):109-132.
Towards a Common Semantics for English Count and Mass Nouns.Brendan S. Gillon - 1992 - Linguistics and Philosophy 15 (6):597 - 639.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Count Nouns and Mass Nouns.H. W. Noonan - 1978 - Analysis 38 (4):167-172.
Counting and the Mass/Count Distinction.S. Rothstein - 2010 - Journal of Semantics 27 (3):343-397.
Needing the Other: The Anatomy of the Mass Noun Thesis.Lajos L. Brons - 2014 - Argument: Biannual Philosophical Journal 4 (1):103-122.
Count Nouns - Mass Nouns, Neat Nouns - Mess Nouns.Fred Landman - 2011 - The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 6:12.
Bare Nouns and Number in Dëne Sųłiné.Andrea Wilhelm - 2008 - Natural Language Semantics 16 (1):39-68.
Mass Terms.Brendan S. Gillon - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (10):712-730.
On Some Proposals for the Semantics of Mass Nouns.Francis Jeffry Pelletier - 1974 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 3 (1/2):87 - 108.
Towards a Common Semantics for English Count and Mass Nouns.Brendan S. Gillon - 1992 - Linguistics and Philosophy 15 (6):597 - 639.
The Logic of Mass Expressions.David Nicolas - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2015-05-28

Total views
62 ( #171,977 of 2,448,711 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #447,803 of 2,448,711 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes