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New paper 'Events and the Mass-Count Distinction'

Posted On: April 28, 2020

'Events and the Mass-Count Distinction'. April 27, 2020

Abstract: The mass-count distinction is a morpho-syntactic distinction that is generally taken to have semantic content. There are three approaches to what such such a semantic mass-count distinction may consist in: 1. an object-based approach, 2. an extension-based approach, and 3. a grammar-based approach.The paper adopts the grammar-based approach on which count categories convey a notion of unity at a level of 'grammaticized individuation', to use Rothstein's (2017) terms. It argues that verbs with respect to their Davidsonian argument position display the diagnostics of mass rather than count. This is predicted by the grammar-based approach, but not object- or extension-based approaches. The paper accounts for the mass diagnostics of verbs in terms of semantic selection.