PALESTRA: Some Issues in the Semantics of Counting and Measuring in Russian Keren Khrizman (Bar Ilan University) 4 de setembro às 13h.

Resumo: There has been much interest in the semantics and syntax of numeral nominal expressions. Numeral noun phrases are used in (at least) two ways. Either to count individuated entities (e.g. five apples, five pieces of furniture) or to measure quantities of entities (e.g. five kilos of apples, five liters of water). Linguists often assumed that counting and measuring constructions have the same grammar. Either measuring was treated as a form of counting (Lyons 1977, Gil 2013) or, conversely, counting was represented as a form of measuring (Krifka 1989/1995). Recently it has been argued that at least in some languages counting and measuring are two different semantic operations which cannot be reduced on to the other. This view has been introduced and developed in Rothstein (2009, 2011, 2016, 2017) and Landman (2004, 2016). In this framework counting and measuring are distinguished as follows. Counting constructions involve a cardinal operation which applies to sets of sums of atoms (pluralities) and specifies how many atoms there are in each sum, λx. |x|= n. Measuring constructions involve an operation which applies to non-atomic pluralities and maps them onto a value on a dimensional scale in terms of numbers of measure units, λnλx. MEAS(x) = <n, UNIT>. Growing cross linguistic research has shown that the grammatical distinction between counting and measuring is attested in a variety of languages from different families including Hebrew (Rothstein 2009), Mandarin (Li 2011/2013) and Hungarian (Schvarcz 2014, Schvarcz in press, Schvarcz and Rothstein in press). Against this background Russian is an interesting case. On the one hand it seems to express counting and measuring in the same way as English (pjat’ jablok PL ‘five apples’, pjat’ predmetov PL mebeli PL ‘five items of furniture’ vs. pjat’ kilogrammovPL jablok PL ‘five kilos of apples’, pjat’ litrov PL vody SG ‘five liters of water’). On the other hand Russian has a range of numeral constructions which do not have parallels in English. These include (i) constructions with collective numerals (troe ‘three individuals’, troe studentovPL ‘three students/a group of three students’); (ii) inverted constructions with an approximative interpretation (knigPL pjat’ ‘about five books’, litrovPL pjat’ vody SG‘about five liters of water’) and (iii) numeral constructions with plural nouns and optional unit classifiers (pjat’ štukPL jablok PL ‘five items of apples’, pjat’ čelovekPL stroitelejPL ‘five persons of building’, pjat’ golov PL korovPL ‘five head of cows’). In this talk I will focus on the latter construction. I will show that these apparently counting expressions have properties of measuring expressions like five liters of water. Based on that I will argue that these constructions are not count expressions in which atomic entities are counted but, instead, these are measure predicates in which quantities of entities are measured in terms of natural units.

 

 

Onde Estamos

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Coordenação

Coordenadora:
Professora Aleria Lage
alerialage@letras.ufrj.br
Substituto Eventual da coordenadora:
Professor Andrew Nevins
andrewnevins@letras.ufrj.br

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Programa de Pós-graduação em Linguística
Faculdade de Letras da UFRJ
Av. Horácio de Macedo, 2151
Sala F. 321
Cidade Universitária - CEP 21941-917
Rio de Janeiro - RJ