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Structuring Sense Volume IIn Name Only$
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Hagit Borer

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199263905

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199263905.001.0001

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Some Stuff: On the Mass–Count Distinction

Some Stuff: On the Mass–Count Distinction

Chapter:
(p.86) 4 Some Stuff: On the Mass–Count Distinction
Source:
Structuring Sense Volume I
Author(s):

Hagit Borer (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199263905.003.0004

This chapter turns to the motivation for one more functional open value within the nominal domain: Classifier Phrase (CLmax), headed by the open value DIV (div. meaning ‘division’). It is argued that CLmax is responsible for the generation of mass vs. count structures and is assigned range, in English, both by plural inflection and by the indefinite article a. #P, on the other hand, is the merger location of all other determiners, including strong determiners, weak determiners, cardinals, and the definite article as well. The chapter looks at the mass-count distinction and the singular-plural distinction in a number of languages, particularly English and Chinese. It also discusses the affinity between bare mass nouns and bare plurals when contrasted with singulars, and provides for a typology of determiners across languages. As in the case of proper vs. common names, it is argued that no lexical listing is required to distinguish mass nouns from count nouns, and that, as in the case of proper/common names, the distinction is fundamentally structural, rather than lexico-semantic.

Keywords:   classifier phrase, mass structure, count structure, plural inflection, indefinite article, determiners, singular-plural distinction, mass nouns

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