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Count and Mass Across Languages$
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Diane Massam

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199654277

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654277.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 December 2021

On the mass/count distinction in Ojibwe

On the mass/count distinction in Ojibwe

(p.172) 10 On the mass/count distinction in Ojibwe
Count and Mass Across Languages

Eric Mathieu

Oxford University Press

While it is common in the literature to find claims that Algonquian languages do not have a grammatical mass/count distinction (because many nouns, and according to some authors, all nouns can be pluralized), the chapter argues in this paper that on the contrary Algonquian languages, and in particular Ojibwe, has such a distinction as part of its grammar. The pluralization of mass nouns is an illusion in that what is being pluralized is a noun that has been singulativized. The chapter shows that Ojibwe has remnants of a gender shift system (much clearer morphologically in Mesqualike (Fox) and that gender shift marks the singulative. That Algonquian languages are singulative languages is a brand new claim that makes many interesting predictions. Theoretically, the chapter integrates singulative systems into Borer's (2005) theory of division and argue that these languages provide another strategy to perform division on nouns that are still undivided.

Keywords:   Ojibwe, Algonquian, pluralization, singulativization, gender shift, division, mass, count

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