Predicting object mass nouns across languages

Kurt Erbach
2020 Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America  
The hypothesis explored in this paper is that the amount of object mass nouns (e.g., furniture, jewelry) in a given language is related to the amount of morphosyntax that indicates the countability of nouns (e.g., many, much) in that language. This hypothesis, together with the analysis of Sutton & Filip (2016) best captures the occurrence of object mass nouns across languages. The analysis of Sutton & Filip (2016) accurately predicts which class of nouns will have object mass nouns across
more » ... s nouns across languages—collective artifacts—and the novel hypothesis provides a means of predicting the amount of object mass nouns in a given language: languages with many morphosyntactic reflexes of the mass/count distinction will likewise have many object mass nouns—e.g. English—and languages with few morphosyntactic reflexes of the mass/count distinction will likewise have few object mass nouns—e.g., Greek, Hungarian, and Japanese.
doi:10.3765/plsa.v5i1.4698 fatcat:yth7n7hhyzghbhwopkkp3vutqq