Chapter

Nominal Subcategories: <i>Seinsarten</i>

J. Rijkhoff

in The Noun Phrase

Published in print July 2002 | ISBN: 9780198237822
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191706776 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198237822.003.0002

Series: Oxford Studies in Typology and Linguistic Theory

Nominal Subcategories: Seinsarten

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This chapter investigates certain morpho-syntactic and semantic properties of both flexible and distinct nouns that are employed in languages across the world to refer to a singular discrete spatial entity (or individual) such as ‘dog’ or ‘knife’ (or, rather, to refer to an entity whose ontological counterpart or Sein-correlate is a singular discrete spatial object). Based on morpho-syntactic evidence, this chapter argues that four noun types (or nominal subcategories) are normally used for this purpose: singular object nouns, set nouns, sort nouns, and general nouns. Ultimately this leads to a more comprehensive and semantically orientated classification of six major nominal subcategories which are defined in terms of two features: shape and homogeneity. The semantics of incorporated and predicate nouns is also discussed. The chapter contends that each nominal subcategory essentially defines a different Seinsart of a spatial property, that is, an alternative way in which a nominal property is specified for the features shape and homogeneity.

Keywords: nominal subcategories; Seinsart; nouns; singular object nouns; set nouns; sort nouns; general nouns; semantics; shape; homogeneity

Chapter.  12400 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Semantics

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