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EALing 2009

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SIGMA Lectures: Events and the Mass/Count Distinction
Roger Schwarzschild (Rutgers)

18 septembre 2009

There is a commonly held view that verbs are predicates of events. In this talk, I will advance the hypothesis that: nouns are predicates of events as well. Boy, for example, is true of an event whose sole participant is a boy. In this framework, whether or not some event is in the extension of a particular noun will depend on:
(a) the nature of the participants in the event,
(b) the number of participants,
(c) relations among participants.
By allowing (a) to be just one component in the meaning of a noun, it becomes easier to outline a semantic basis for the mass/count distinction with the following character. On the one hand, facts about the referents of a noun phrase influence the categorization of the head nouns: properties of water and of dogs, surely are relevant to the status of the nouns water and dog. On the other hand, properties of referents shouldn’t determine the status of the head, for as has often been observed, co-referential noun phrases can differ in the mass/count status of their head nouns.
Courses (handout downloadable):
1/ (no recording) September 18, 2009 at 17:15 pm,
2/ September 19, 2009 at 17:15 pm,
3/ September 21, 2009 at 17:15 pm,
4/ September 22, 2009 at 17:15 pm.

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