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Do mass nouns constitute a semantically uniform class?

Abstract : Research on mass nouns has focused on concrete terms. So, are there semantic properties shared by all mass terms? We first consider concrete nouns like 'milk' and 'furniture'. Contra Cheng (1973), we show that they can be held to refer distributively (i.e. to apply to any part of what they apply to) only if this property is understood with a new part-relation, that of N-part. In addition, they refer cumulatively: when they apply to each of two things, they also apply to the two things considered together. We then turn to abstract mass terms like 'beauty' and 'love'. We find, surprisingly, that they too refer distributively and cumulatively.
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https://jeannicod.ccsd.cnrs.fr/ijn_00000056
Contributor : David Nicolas <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, June 25, 2002 - 9:54:14 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 3:58:02 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Saturday, April 3, 2010 - 8:06:43 PM

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David Nicolas. Do mass nouns constitute a semantically uniform class?. Kansas Working Papers in Linguistics, 2002. ⟨ijn_00000056⟩

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