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英语语言学动名词属性研究:Mass and count properties of nouns and verbs [5]

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:17302

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

ount nouns such as characteristic, mile and aspect. The process of shifting
from a count meaning to a mass meaning is quite regular. In general, nouns
that physical objects in their extension can undergo a shift in which case
they denote the substance an object they would normally refer to is made
of, though some cases are obviously more common than others.
Shifts from mass to count are far more complex. It is often possible to
interpret a mass noun Nmass as a count term referring to a type of Nmass, a
serving of Nmass or a piece of Nmass but these processes are not transparent. Note,
for instance, that having the type of Nmass reading does not imply that massto-
count shift has taken place. A Dutch example of a mass type of Nmass
reading is given in (10):
(10) Ze verkopen dit hout al jaren
they sell this wood since years
‘They have been selling this (type of) wood for years’
MAS S AND COUNT 23
The word hout cannot be a count term in this type of Nmass reading, because
it cannot be pluralized. In order to obtain the plural meaning, the complex
form houtsoorten ‘kinds of wood’ is used, as is shown in (11):
(11) Ze verkopen verschillende duurzame
they sell different durable
*houten/houtsoorten
woods/kinds of woods
‘They sell different kinds of durable wood’
It is not the case that the mass noun hout cannot be used as a count noun
at all. In slaghout/slaghouten ‘bat/bats’, lit. ‘beat-wood(s)’ the noun is count,
as the existence of both singular and plural shows. Other words that resist
mass-to-count shift via the type of Nmass reading are glas ‘glass’, zand ‘sand’,
afval ‘waste’ etc., though there might be some variation among speakers.
In other cases the type of Nmass reading does involve a mass-to-count shift
as plural can be formed. An example is wijn ‘wine’:
(12) Marie heeft verschillende wijnen geproefd
Marie has different wines tasted
‘Marie tasted different wines’
The examples in (11) and (12) demonstrate that the availability of the count
type of Nmass reading is not free, at least not in Dutch. Other possibilities for
interpreting Nmass as a count noun are serving of Nmass or piece of Nmass. Again,
these processes are not predictable as is the count-to-mass shift discussed
above. This is illustrated by the Dutch examples in (13). (13) illustrates three
ways in which a mass noun can be used as a count noun. The count noun
can be the same form that is used as mass noun (wijn ‘wijn’), it can be a
compound in which the noun is preceded by a specification of what the
object is used for (slaghout ‘bat’) and it can be a diminutive form (slaapje
‘nap’). Diminutives are always count. It is not the case, however, that the
compounds and the diminutives in (13) must be derived from the simple
count noun, after mass-to-count shift has taken place. The diminutive and
the compound can exist when there is no corresponding simple count noun
as in (13a), (13d) and (13f). Moreover, there can be a difference in meaning
between the diminutive or compound and the simple count noun, which
also shows that they are directly derived from the mass noun. For instance,
there are two mass nouns stof, one of which is neuter and means ‘dust’, the
other of which is feminine and means ‘fabric’. The diminutive stofje (which
is always neuter, due to the presence of the diminutive suffix) can be used
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