1932

Abstract

The count/mass distinction is a domain of human language that is strongly related to human cognition. This review starts with an overview of recent research on individuation in relation to core knowledge systems (in particular the systems of object representation, agent representation, and number representation), followed by a brief overview of the role these representations play in the acquisition of count meaning. I then discuss linguistic aspects of individuation and the count/mass distinction in more detail. I distinguish between the grammatical systems of languages and the lexical properties of nouns, focusing on crosslinguistic variation. Languages vary substantially in the grammatical conditions that quantity expressions impose on the nouns they combine with, as well as in the exact lexical and grammatical properties of nouns. At the same time, individuation and counting seem to play a role in all languages, and similar counting strategies show up in unrelated languages.

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2017-01-14
2024-06-12
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