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Bookmark and Share Paper 1823

Size Matters: Towards a Syntactic Decomposition of Countability
Marijke De Belder
116-122 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This paper is a study on the features and heads that determine countability in the Dutch DP. More specifically, the morphosyntax of two types of count readings are discussed: the kind reading (1) and the unit reading (2). 1) chocolades chocolate-PL 'kinds of chocolate.' 2) chocola-tje-s. chocolate-DIMPL 'pieces of chocolate.' To account for these data, it is proposed that countability is derived from two syntactic features. The first one is the dividing feature [Div] that has been proposed by Borer (2005). It divides stuff into countable items. The second feature is [Size]. It assigns size to stuff and creates measurable portions. It is shown that (i) the absence of both features yields the default mass reading, (ii) that the presence of [Div] in the absence of [Size] results in count kind readings, (iii) that the presence of both features generates count unit readings and (iv) that the presence of [Size] in the absence of [Div] is illicit. The article further proposes that the diminutive is an overt realization of [Size].

Published in

Proceedings of the 27th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Natasha Abner and Jason Bishop
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00