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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: 16 May 2021

Aspects of individuation *

Aspects of individuation *

Chapter:
(p.27) 3 Aspects of individuation*
Source:
Count and Mass Across Languages
Author(s):

Elizabeth Cowper

Daniel Currie Hall

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199654277.003.0003

This chapter sheds light on the crosslinguistically robust, but not total, complementarity between plurality and classifiers by proposing a formal representation of plurality and classification as two separate aspects of individuation, the semantic property that characterizes count nouns cross-linguistically. Drawing on data from English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Armenian, Korean, and Persian, the chapter argues that the differences among these languages can be reduced to a small number of differences in a) which features the language makes use of, b) which of those features can project as syntactic heads, and c) the status of non-projecting features as modifiers or head features. Under the proposed analysis, it is not necessary that a language be characterizable, as a whole, as a classifier language or as a plural-marking language. Rather, classifiers and plural marking may coexist in a language as long as only one appears in any given nominal.

Keywords:   Armenian, Chinese, classifiers, count, English, features, individuation, Korean, mass, Persian, plural

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