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英语语言学动名词属性研究:Mass and count properties of nouns and verbs [2]

论文作者:留学生论文论文属性:案例分析 Case Study登出时间:2011-02-25编辑:anterran点击率:17234

论文字数:4124论文编号:org201102250952223748语种:英语论文 English地区:中国价格:免费论文

关键词:Mass and countpropertiesnouns and verbs

context of the mass/count distinction it is unavoidable to talk
about mass-to-count and count-to-mass shifts. An example of a count-tomass
shift is the pair a chicken/chicken. Starting out with the count noun a
chicken we can form the mass noun chicken, which refers to chicken meat.
On the basis of the mass noun beer we can form the count noun a beer by
mass-to-count shift, which refers to a type of beer, or alternatively a servingof beer. Shifting processes, which are often available, can make it hard todecide with which type of noun we are dealing with. Moreover, if we wantto show that in a certain construction only mass nouns or only count nounsare possible, we have to exclude the shifted interpretation. From now onthe impossibility of a mass or count form will be marked by #, whichindicates that the form is impossible, unless a shift has taken place. Thus theuse of # in #a beer indicates that the form a beer is only possible if the massnoun beer has shifted to a count interpretation.
The organization of this section is as follows. In 2.1.1 I will list the moststriking distributional properties of count nouns and mass nouns. Count-tomassand mass-to-count shifting processes will be discussed in 2.1.2. In
2.1.3 we move on to semantic structures of mass and count nouns that have
MAS S AND COUNT 19
been proposed within the spirit of Link (1983). In this context the status ofcollective nouns, such as furniture, will be discussed. These challenge the ideathat mass nouns never provide us with a criterion for counting (cf. Bunt
1985). In section 2.1.4 I will introduce the notion of q-position. The qposition,
where q stands for quantity, is a position in the thematic grid ofthe noun, which can be saturated by a quantifying expression. In more tea,for instance, the q-position of the mass noun tea is saturated by more. Theq-position can be either scalar or non-scalar, depending on the semanticstructure corresponding to the noun.
2.1.1 Distributional criteria
There are several distributional differences between mass nouns and count
nouns. The first and most striking difference is that count nouns have botha singular and a plural form, and mass nouns do not:1
(2) a. #golds, #waters, #wines
b. rings, lakes, bottles
The examples in (2a) are unacceptable unless we give a count sense to water,gold and wine, as indicated by the sign #.
Quantifying expressions are often sensitive to mass, count and plurality
properties of the nouns they combine with (see chapter 7 for a detailed
overview). The indefinite determiner a selects a singular count noun, whilecardinal numerals and a number of other quantifying expressions such asseveral select a plural count noun:
(3) a. a ring, two lakes, several bottles
b. *a rings, *two lake, *several bottle
c. #a gold, #two water(s), #several wine(s)
When an element such as kilo, litre or bottle is inserted in the examples in
(3c), they are fine:
(4) a kilo of gold, two litres of water, several bottles of wine
The role of these elements, which I call classifiers, will be discussed in 2.1.3
below and in chapter 7.
1 The lack of plural for mass nouns can either mean that mass nouns are always
singular, or that they do not bear Number morphology at all. In chapter 7 I will defend the
idea mass nouns do not bear Number morphology.
20 CHAPTER 2
There is also a small set of quantifying expressions that can only be
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