mass/count distinction, two-dimensional semantics, nouns, counting, context


We argue that two types of context are central to grounding the semantics for the mass/count distinction. We combine and develop the accounts of Rothstein (2010) and Landman (2011), which emphasize (non-)overlap at a context. We also adopt some parts of Chierchia’s (2010) account which uses precisifying contexts. We unite these strands in a two-dimensional semantics that covers a wide range of the puzzling variation data in mass/count lexicalization. Most importantly, it predicts where we should expect to find such variation for some classes of nouns but not for others, and also explains why.

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