The Lexical Semantics of English Count and Mass Nouns

  • Brendan S. Gillon
Part of the Text, Speech and Language Technology book series (TLTB, volume 10)


The systematic connection between English mass and count nouns has long been known. Those working within lexical semantics have frequently cited such systematic connections as instances which are susceptible of treatment by so-called lexical rules (Leech, 1974), lexical inference rules (Ostler and Atkins, 1991), or subtype coercion (Pustejovsky, 1995). This paper has three aims: to present the principal morphological and semantic properties of the mass count distinction; to formulate, in terms of lexical (inference) rules, the empirical generalizations pertinent to systematic connection between English mass and count nouns; and to show how such rules fit with a syntactic and semantic theory of English common noun phrases.


Noun Phrase Lexical Entry Common Noun Mass Noun Count Noun 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brendan S. Gillon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsMcGill UniversityMontréalCanada

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