Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Lexical plurals for aggregates of discrete entities in English: why plural, yet non-count, nouns?

Abstract : This paper studies why, for a plurality of discrete entities, a non-count plural might be preferred over a count noun or a non-count singular. Building partly on Wierzbicka (1985, 1988), it proposes two parameters: semantics, but also morphology. With lexical plurals, the items are construed as being of different kinds (vs. count nouns) and the focus is on the plurality of items rather than on a common purpose (vs. non-count singulars). For morphology, the notion of ‘attractor’ is proposed for some patterns which partly motivate the [+/-count] and number features. A collateral finding is that the plural of lexical plurals can be unstable: some nouns ending with -s undergo reanalysis as morphological plurals, while Latin plurals tend to be reanalysed as singulars. It is suggested that this trend confirms the semantic values of singular and plural numbers, as well as the influence of the morphological parameter on number and construal.
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadata

https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01561113
Contributor : Laure Gardelle Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Friday, April 30, 2021 - 6:49:26 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 11:38:10 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Saturday, July 31, 2021 - 7:30:17 PM

File

Gardelle Laure - lexical plura...
Files produced by the author(s)

Identifiers

  • HAL Id : halshs-01561113, version 1

Citation

Laure Gardelle. Lexical plurals for aggregates of discrete entities in English: why plural, yet non-count, nouns?. Lingvisticae Investigationes, Philadelphia; Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2016, Lexical Plurals and Beyond, pp.355-372. ⟨halshs-01561113⟩

Share

Metrics

Record views

225

Files downloads

23