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The Acquisition of the Count/Mass Distinction in Yudja (Tupi): Quantifying 'Quantity' and 'Number'
Suzi Lima
181-190 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Three quantity judgment (based on Barner and Snedeker (2005)) explored the semantics of nouns and quantifiers in Yudja (Tupi; Brazil). It has been claimed that Yudja is a language without a grammaticalized count-mass distinction (Lima 2010). We tested whether speakers of this language make a distinction between notional mass nouns and notional count nouns in tasks involving the evaluation of a quantity of objects/stuff. A total of 18 adults and 22 children participated in the studies. The studies show that Yudja speakers make a conceptual distinction between Quantity and Number. Nevertheless, all nouns can be treated as count by young children and adults. Therefore, the distinction between Quantity and Number might not be grammaticalized as a distinction between count and mass nouns.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 5th Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA 2012)
edited by Chia-Ying Chu, Caitlin E. Coughlin, Beatriz Lopez Prego, Utako Minai, and Annie Tremblay
Table of contents
Printed edition: $320.00