•  
  •  
 

Keywords

Russian language, classifiers, functional units, numeral constructions, count constructions, individuating classifiers

Abstract

It has often been argued that functional individuating classifiers and plural count nouns ought to be in complementary distribution (e.g. Borer 2005, Chierchia 2010). This apparently works neatly for Chinese and English. Russian, however, is an interesting case. On the one hand it has count nouns which can be directly modified by numerals. On the other hand it has three classifiers, štuka ‘item’, čelovek ‘person’ and golova ‘head’, which optionally occur in numeral constructions with plural nouns and look very much like functional individuating classifiers (cf. Sussex 1976, Yadroff 1999). I show that a closer look at the data reveals that apparently count constructions using these optional classifiers have properties of measure constructions such as five liters of water. Based on that I argue that these classifiers are not individuating classifiers but are measure words which measure mass denotations in terms of natural units in the sense of Krifka (1989, 1995).

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

References

Abney, Steven. 1987. The English Noun Phrase and Its Sentential Aspect. Ph.D. thesis, MIT. Borer, Hagit. 2005. Structuring Sense: Vol I, In Name Only. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Chao, Yuen-Ren. 1968. A Grammar of Spoken Chinese. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Cheng, Lisa L.-S. & Rint, Sybesma. 1998. ‘Yi-wan Tang, yi-ge Tang: classifiers and massi- fiers’. Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies, New Series 28, no. 3: 385–412.

Cheng, Lisa Lai-Shen & Sybesma, Rint. 1999. ‘Bare and not-so-bare nouns and the structure of NP’. Linguistic Inquiry 30, no. 4: 509–542.

Chierchia, Gennaro. 1998. ‘Reference to kinds across languages’. Natural Language Se- mantics 6, no. 4: 339–405.

——. 2010. ‘Mass nouns, vagueness and semantic variation’. Synthese 174, no. 1: 99– 149.

Corbett, Greville. 2000. Number. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dayal, Veneeta. 2004. ‘Number marking and (in) definiteness in kind terms’. Linguistics and Philosophy 27, no. 4: 393–450.

Franks, Steven. 1995. Parameters of Slavic Morphosyntax. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gil, David. 2013. ‘Numeral Classifiers’. In Matthew S. Dryer & Martin Haspelmath (eds.) ‘The World Atlas of Language Structures Online’, Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. (Available online at http://wals.info/chapter/55, Accessed on 2016-09-11.).

Isačenko, A. 1960. Grammaticheskij Stroj Russkogo Jazyka v Sopostovlenii s Slovackim. Morfologia pt. 2. Bratislava.

Khrizman, Keren & Rothstein, Susan. 2015. ‘Russian approximative inversion as a mea- sure construction’. In G. Zybatow, P. Biskup, M. Guhl, C. Hurtig, O. Mueller-Reichau & M.Yastrebova(eds.)‘Slavic Grammar from a Formal Perspective. The 10th Anniversary FDSL Conference, Leipzig 2013. Linguistik International, Band 35’, 259–272. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Edition.

Khrizman, Keren, Landman, Fred, Lima, Suzi, Rothstein, Susan & Schvarcz, Brigitta R. 2015. ‘Portion readings are count readings, not measure readings’. In: Proceedings of the 21st Amsterdam Colloquium.

Krifka, Manfred. 1989. ‘Nominal reference, temporal constitution and quantification in event semantics’. In R. Bartsch, J. van Benthem & P. von Emde Boas (eds.) ‘Semantics and Contextual Expression’, 75–115. Dordrecht: Foris.

——. 1995. ‘Common nouns: a contrastive analysis of English and Chinese’. In G. N. Carlson & F. J. Pelletier (eds.) ‘The Generic Book’, 398–411. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Landman, Fred. 1991. Structures for Semantics. Springer [Kluwer], Berlin.

——. 2003. ‘Predicate-argument mismatches and the adjectival theory of indefinites’. In M. Coene & Y. d’Hulst (eds.) ‘From NP to DP Volume 1: The Syntax and Semantics of Noun Phrases’, Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

——. 2004. Indefinites and the Type of Sets. Oxford: Blackwell.

——. this volume. ‘Iceberg Semantics For Count Nouns And Mass Nouns: Classifiers, measures and portions’. The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Com- munication 11.

Li, XuPing. 2011. On the Semantics of Classifiers in Chinese. Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan University dissertation, http://www.semanticsarchive.net/Archive/.

——. 2013. Numeral classifiers in Chinese: the Syntax-Semantics Interface. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Li, XuPing & Rothstein, Susan. 2012. ‘Measure readings of Mandarin classifier phrases and the particle de’. Language and Linguistics 13, no. 4: 693–741.

Link, Godehard. 1983. ‘The logical analysis of plurals and mass terms: a lattice- theoretical approach’. In R. Bauerle, C. Schwartze & A. von Stechow (eds.) ‘Meaning, Use and the Interpretation of Language’, 302–323. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

——. 1984. ‘Hydras. On the logic of relative clause constructions with multiple heads’. In F. Landman & F. Veltman (eds.) ‘Varieties of Formal Semantics’, 245–257. Dordrecht: Foris.

Lyons, John. 1977. Semantics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Matushansky, Ora. 2015. ‘On Russian approximative inversion’. In Gerhild Zybatow, Petr Biskup, Marcel Guhl, Claudia Hurtig, Olav Mueller-Reichau & Maria Yastrebova (eds.) ‘Slavic Grammar from a Formal Perspective: The 10th Anniversary FDSL Conference’, 303–315. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

Matushansky, Ora & Ruys, Eddy G. 2015a. ‘4000 measure NPs: another pass through the shljoz’. In Malgorzata Szajbel-Keck, Roslyn Burns & Darya Kavitskaya (eds.) ‘Proceedings of FASL 23’, 184–205. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Michigan Slavic Publications.

——. 2015b. ‘Measure for measure’. In Gerhild Zybatow, Petr Biskup, Marcel Guhl, ClaudiaHurtig, OlavMueller-Reichau & Maria Yastrebova(eds.) ‘Slavic Grammar from a Formal Perspective: The 10th Anniversary FDSL Conference’, 317–30. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.
Mel’čuk, Igor. 1980. ‘Animacy in Russian cardinal numerals and adjectives as an inflec- tional category’. Language 56: 797–811.

——. 1985. Poverxnostnyj Sintaksis Russkix ˇ Cislovyx Vyraženij, Wiener Slawistischer Almanach. Sonderband 16. Vienna: Institut fur Slawistik der Universitat Wien.

Ožegov, Sergej & Švedova, Natalija. 2008. Tolkovyj Slovar’ Russkogo Jazyka, the 4th edition. Rossijskaja akademija nauk. Institut imeni V.V. Vinogradova, Moskva.

Partee, Barbara & Borschev, Vladimir. 2012. ‘Sortal, relational, and functional interpretations of nouns and Russian container constructions’. Journal of Semantics 29, no. 4: 445–486.

Pereltsvaig, Asya. 2006. ‘Small nominals’. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 24: 433–500.

Rothstein, Susan. 2009. ‘Individuating and measure readings of classifier constructions: Evidence from Modern Hebrew’. Brill’s Annual of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics 1: 106–45.

——. 2010. ‘Counting and the mass-count distinction’. Journal of Semantics 27, no. 3: 343–397.

——.2011. ‘Counting, measuring and the semantics of classifiers’. The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 6. http://newprairiepress.org/biyclc/ vol6/iss1/15.

——. in press. Semantics for Counting and Measuring. Cambridge University Press.

——. this volume. ‘Counting and Measuring: a theoretical and crosslinguistic account’. The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 11.

Schvarcz, B. in press. ‘Measure Constructions in Hungarian and the semantics of the suffix –nyi’. In A. Liptak & H. van der Hulst (eds.) ‘Approaches to Hungarian: Volume 15’, Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Schvarcz, B. & Rothstein, S. in press. ‘Hungarian classifier constructions and the mass/count distinction’. In A. Liptak & H. van der Hulst (eds.) ‘Approaches to Hungarian: Volume 15’, Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Schvarcz, Brigitta. 2014. ‘The Hungarians who say -nyi: Issues in numbers, counting and measuring in Hungarian’. MA thesis Bar-Ilan University.

Sussex, Roland. 1976. ‘The numeral classifiers of Russian’. Russian Linguistics 3: 145–55.

Tang, Chih-Chen Jane. 1990. Chinese Phrase Structure and the Extended X-bar theory. Ph.D. thesis, Cornell University, Ithaca.

Trugman, Helen. 2013. ‘Naturally-atomic singular NA kinds in Russian as lexically de- rived’. In Dorthee Fehrman, Denisa Lenertova & Hayen Pitsch (eds.) ‘Formal Descriptions of Slavic Languages’, 325–249. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

Vinogradov, Victor (ed.). 1960. Grammatika Russkogo Jazyka. Akademija Nauk SSSR.

Yadroff, Michael. 1999. Formal properties of functional categories: The minimalist syntax of Russian nominal and prepositional expressions. Ph.D. thesis, Indiana University.

Yang, Rong. 2001. Common nouns, classifiers, and quantification in Chinese. Ph.D. thesis, New Brunswick: Rutgers University.

Zhang, Niina Ning. 2011. ‘The constituency of classifier constructions in Mandarin Chinese’. Taiwan Journal of Linguistics 9, no. 1: 1–50.

Included in

Linguistics Commons

Share

COinS