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Lecture V Count nouns and mass nouns. 1. The conceptual basis individuatedness The distinction between count and mass nouns can be appropriately captured.

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Presentation on theme: "Lecture V Count nouns and mass nouns. 1. The conceptual basis individuatedness The distinction between count and mass nouns can be appropriately captured."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lecture V Count nouns and mass nouns

2 1. The conceptual basis individuatedness The distinction between count and mass nouns can be appropriately captured in terms of internal homogeneity, with three properties: divisability, replicability, inherent boundedness

3 Substance: is internally homogeneous,hence any portion of the substance counts as a valid instance of it and a multiplication of instances also counts as an instance. To be sure, any instance will be bounded in its domain of instantiation. The water in a lake constitutes a bounded instance of water. However, the boundary is not inherent to the con- cept[WATER].

4 Individuated objects: differ on all properties. First, they lack internal homogeneity. A part does not count as an instance while accumulation of instances count just as that: a multiplicity of instances. Moreover, individual things are inher- Ently bounded; the boundary does not simply de- fine the extent of instance, it legitimizes the cate- Gorization of the entity as an object of the appro- priate kind. The boundary of a lake is inherently to the concept of [LAKE].

5 Just count and mass? Fig 1: co-occurrence possibilities of three kinds of nouns with various determiners and quantifiers Singular count Plural count Mass 1. Ø 2. a(nother) 3. some(more) 4. a lot of 5. (not) much 6. this 7. these 8.(not) many 9. three

6 1 4 aligns mass nouns with plural count. 5 distinguishes count from mass as such. 6 9 differentiate singular nouns (whether) count or mass) from plurals. Two cross-cutting distinctions therefore emerge: singular vs. plural singular count vs. plural and mass

7 Finer distinctions Even the three-way classification presented above turns out to be too crude, in that there are nouns which do not fit into any of the three categories. (1) a. These groceries are expensive. b. Groceries are getting more expensive. c. *This grocery was expensive. d. We need{*three/?several/?numerous}groceries

8 Plural mass nouns with the same properties: leftovers, remains, supplies, belongings, valuables, dishes, clothes, bedclothes, contents But the following are somewhat different concept- ually and grammatically: trousers, pants, jeans, scissors, glasses, binoculars

9 Some mass plural nouns are restricted to occurring in specific syntactic environments: (2) a. His whereabouts are unknown. b. the whereabouts of the fugitive c. his many whereabouts (scarce) d. some of his whereabouts (scarce) (3) a. the workings of a watch b. the workings of the Parliament c. the workings of the market economy d. the mysterious workings of the stock market e. some of the workings (partitive)

10 Quite a few invariably plural mass nouns are re- stricted to occurring in idiomatic expressions: ways and means, goods and chattels, bits and pieces, odds and ends, (the) ins and outs (of the matter), (the) ups and downs (of life), to all intents and purposes, under the auspices of, give oneself airs and graces

11 Plural mass nouns and semantic field: A notable fact about plural mass nouns is that they tend to cluster in certain semantic domains. wages, earnings, means( as in a person of means), expenses, resources, assets, effects, goods, riches, savings, takings, proceeds, pickings, belongings, things (as in my things, i.e. my possessions) sums of money or possessions and things of value

12 Another group: guts, innards, intestines, brains, bowels, genitals, testicles Another group: whereabouts, headquaters, grounds, premises, woods, wetlands, uplands, outskirts, surround- ings, the Midlands, the Canterbury Plains, the great outdoors, (plumb)the depths, (scale) the hights, (live) out in the sticks

13 One more group: the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Blue Mountains, the British Isles, the Seychelles, the Camorras, the West Indies, the Netherlands, the States, the low countries

14 The count-mass distinction Problem: Many nouns can be used as either mass or count nouns: (4) a. He likes beer. b. He ordered a beer and was drinking alone. c. The stores sells imported beers.

15 (5) a. There are many chickens in the yard. b. He had chicken for supper. (6) a. After the accident, there was cat all over the road. b. Theres a smell of cat in the room. (7) a. There is a lawn in front of the house. b. From this point, you can see the two oceans. c. There isnt much lawn in front of the house. d. We looked out onto a vast expanse of ocean.

16 Fig 2: A fragment of a schema network for the count-mass distinction a rabbit some rabbit a beer some beer a chicken some chicken a wine some wine THING OBJECT SUBSTANCE ANIMAL AS OBJECT ANIMAL AS MEAT LIQUID PORTION OF LIQUID LIQUID AS SUBSTANCE

17 Numeral classifier languages Chinese is a good example of numeral-classifier language. (8) a. b. (9) a. b. c. (10) a. b. *

18 (11) a. b. (12) a. b. (Grounding (Quantification (Instantiation (Specification (Type)))))

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