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Reading: The mass/count distinction in Japanese from the perspective of partitivity

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The mass/count distinction in Japanese from the perspective of partitivity

Author:

Akira Watanabe

University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, JP
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Abstract

This article presents a novel set of observations concerning partitive constructions that indicate that bare nouns in Japanese can be marked with the singular/plural distinction, despite the absence of its overt morphological reflection. The new data set challenges the currently dominant view that bare nouns are number-neutral in classifier languages. A way of accommodating the phenomenon with the syntactically represented singular/plural distinction is provided. Implications for noun classification are also discussed. It is then concluded that it is a mistake to regard Japanese nouns with count semantics as furniture-type nouns and that we need to recognize the familiar mass/count distinction in the language.

How to Cite: Watanabe, A. (2017). The mass/count distinction in Japanese from the perspective of partitivity. Glossa: a journal of general linguistics, 2(1), 98. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.116
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Published on 10 Nov 2017.
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