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w03d_Indef sing count Ns in O position: can have a plural reading

Definition
Untitled Document

    Indefinite singular count nouns in object position

    To code for all possibilities, and for ease of the task, there are three property definitions for indefinite singular count nouns in object position:

    can be 'bare', must have an 'article', can have an 'article'


    Plus an additional one

    Indefinite singular count nouns in object position may have a plural-like reading


Indefinite singular count nouns in object position may have a plural-like reading


This property is set to 'yes' if an unmodified, indefinite, morphologically singular count noun in object may be ambiguous between a singular and a plural-like reading.


[ BARE ]

Elicitation context

1) David sells book for a living
2) I went to a party to meet girl
3) At the zoo, the children watched elephant all afternoon long


Additional instructions

  1. The indefinite singular count noun must be unmodified (no quantifiers, no adjectives, no possessors, no relative clauses, no adpositional complements, etc)
  2. The sentence is affirmative, NOT negative, interrogative, etc
  3. The following classes of nouns should NOT be considered when checking this property:
    1. abstract nouns (John finds love everywhere)
    2. collective nouns (Italy changed government last week, I saw people at the party)
    3. singular nouns of chemical elements or other physical entities (I put oxygen in the tank)
    4. singular nouns of arts and sciences (I love chemistry)
    5. home

Examples

1.

Hindi is 'yes' for this property: bare indefinite count singular nouns in object position may be ambiguous between a singular and a plural-like reading (i) (Dayal 1992).

i.

  • mâîne kitaab padhii (the d has a dot below. Html code: U+1E0D)
    I.ERG book read.PAST.FEM
    " I read a book / I read some books " (can mean either one or more than one book)

There is no ambiguity if the noun is marked as a plural (ii.a) or combines with the numeral one (ek; ii.b).

ii.a

  • mâîne kitaabê padhii (the d has a dot below. Html code: U+1E0D)
    I.ERG book.PL read.PAST.FEM
    " I read books " (must be more than one book)

ii.b

  • mâîne ek kitaab padhii (the d has a dot below. Html code: U+1E0D)
    I.ERG one book read.PAST.FEM
    " I read a book " (must be one singular book)

2.

Hungarian is 'yes' for this property: bare indefinite count singular nouns in object position may be ambiguous between a singular and a plural-like reading (cf. also de Swart and Farkas 2005).

i.

  • egész délután könyvet olvastam
    whole afternoon book.ACC read.1SG
    Lit. " I read a book whole afternoon ". It can also mean I read books all afternoon long (there can be one or many books)

ii.

  • látok kutyát
    see.PRST.1SG.INDEF dog.ACC
    Lit. " I see a dog ". It can also mean I see dogs (there can be one or many dogs)

There is no ambiguity if the noun is marked as a plural (iii) or combines with the numeral one (egy; iv).

iii.a

  • olvastam könyveket
    read.1SG book.PLACC
    Lit. " I read books " (there must be more than one book)

iii.b

  • olvastam egy könyvet
    read.1SG one book.ACC
    Lit. " I read a book " (there must be one singular book)

iv.a

  • láttam kutyákat
    see.PST.1SG dog.PL.ACC
    Lit. " I see dogs " (there must be more than one dog)

iv.a

  • látok egy kutyát
    see.PST.1SG one dog.PL.ACC
    Lit. " I see a dog " (there must be one single dog)

3.

English is 'no' for this property: indefinite singular count nouns in object position always require an indefinite article and must be interpreted as singular.

    1. I met a dog
    2. I read a book
    3. I met a teacher
    1. *I met dog
    2. *I read book
    3. *I met teacher

4.

Basque is 'no' for this property: indefinite singular count nouns in object position always require an indefinite article bat and must be interpreted as singular.

i.a

  • liburu bat irakurri dut
    book one read AUX
    " I read a book "

They cannot be bare.

i.b

  • * liburu irakurri dut
    book read AUX
    " I read a book "

5.

Wolof is 'no' for this property: indefinite singular count nouns in object position must be interpreted as singular. (Tamba, Torrence, Zimmermann 2013: 905, ex 33).

i.a

  • Awa jàpp-na sàcc
    Awa catch-FIN thief
    " Awa caught a thief " (cannot mean Awa caught thieves)

i.b

  • Awa jàpp-na a-y sàcc
    Awa catch-FIN INDEF-CL.PL thief
    " Awa caught some thieves "

6.

Modern Greek is 'no' for this property: indefinite singular count nouns in object position must be interpreted as singular. (Alexopoulou and Folli 2011).

  • diávasa vivlío
    read.PAST.3SG book
    " I read a book " (cannot be interpreted as I read books)

7.

Hebrew is 'no' for this property: indefinite singular count nouns in object position must be interpreted as singular.

i.

  • karati sefer
    I.read book
    " I read a book " (cannot mean I read books)

ii.

  • pagashti ish
    I.met man
    " I met a man " (cannot mean I met men)

iii.

  • raiti kelev
    I.saw dog
    " I saw a dog " (cannot mean I saw dogs)

8.

Russian is 'no' for this property: indefinite singular count nouns in object position must be interpreted as singular.

i.

  • Ja vstretila sobaku
    I.NOM meet.pst.fem.sg dog.acc.sg
    " I met a dog " (can also mean I met the dog)

ii.

  • Ja vstretil uCitelja
    I.NOM meet.pst.masc.sg teacher.acc.sg
    " I met a teacher " (can also mean I met the teacher)

iii.

  • Ja proCitala knigu
    I.NOM read.pst.fem.sg book.acc.sg
    " I read a book " (can also mean I read the book)

Contributed by: Cristina Guardiano and Hilda Koopman
Language Value Contributor Comments
   Ancient Greek No Cristina Guardiano
   Armenian (Eastern) Yes Sona Haroutyunian
+ Basaa No Paul Roger Bassong
  Words: David a- ń- nuŋûl káat/bíkaat ínyuú li-niŋ
  Gloss: 1.David 1.SM-PRS-sell 7.book/8.books for INF-live
  Translation: David sells a book/books for a living’.
  Comment: The singular is unambigously interpreted as singular.
  Contributor: Paul Roger Bassong
  Words: í wɔ̌m (í) binugá, ɓɔɔŋgɛ́ ɓá- bí- ɓeŋgɛ́ ńdʒɔk ndʒǎmhwá jɔsô
  Gloss: LOC 3.farm PREP 8.animals 2.children 2.SM-PST2-watch 9/10.elephant(s) 7.afternoon 7.all
  Translation: At the zoo, the children watched an elephant (indefinite)/elephants (indefinite) all afternoon long.
  Comment: In Basa’a, like in many noun class languages of the Bantu family, names that designate animals belong to class 9. These nouns are bacically invariable morphologically (although there can be some tone alternation for some cases). the noun ńdʒɔk ‘elephant(s)’ is morphologically ambiguous between indefinite singular and plural. (To further test: a case where singular and plural are distinct tonally.) All points to a no setting so far.
  Contributor: Paul Roger Bassong
   Calabrian (Northern) No Giuseppina Silvestri
+ Cantonese (Guangzhou) Yes Zixian Qiu
  Words: camjat ngo maai-zo syu
  Gloss: yesterdat I buy-PFV book
  Translation: Yesterday I bought a book/Yesterday I bought books. (can mean either one or more than one book).
  Contributor: Zixian Qiu
   Catalan No Victoria Mateu
   Chickasaw Yes Pam Munro
+ Croatian Yes Daniela Culinovic
  Words: David prodaje kapulu.
  Gloss: David.NOM sell.PRS.3SG onion.ACC.SG
  Translation: David sells onions.
  Comment: plural reading of singuar indefinites only available for a subset of inanimate objects, it is unclear how to categorize them (some vegetables allow plural reading, for instance, but not fruit: David prodaje jabuku.ACC.SG (David sells apple) cannot mean David sells apples.)
  Contributor: Daniela Culinovic
   Cypriot Greek No Marios Andreou
   Danish No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
+ Dida Lakota (diéko) Yes Gohon Fabienne Stéphanie Attéby
  Words: àtēbī ī sré sa̍
  Gloss: Attébi FUT house build
  Translation: Attébi will build a house/houses
  Contributor: Gohon Fabienne Stéphanie Attéby
+ Dutch No Hilda Koopman
  Words:  * Marie kan in vijf minuten (een) fiets verkopen.
  Gloss:  Mary can in 5 minutes (a) bike sell
  Translation: intended: Mary can sell bikes in 5 minutes
  Comment: an indefinite sing count noun in O cannot have a plural reading.
  Contributor: Hilda Koopman
+ English No the property authors
  Words: I met a dog
  Contributor: the property authors
   Faroese No Hjalmar Páll Petersen
   Farsi Yes Natasha Schimka
   French No Cristina Guardiano and Hilda Koopman
+ French (Ivorian) Yes Akpoué Josué
  Words: Il aime gateau dêh
  Gloss: he like cake dêh
  Translation: He likes cakes
  Comment: There is no morphological plural.
  Contributor: Akpoué Josué
   Garifuna Yes Pam Munro
   German No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Gothic No Cristina Guardiano
+ Greek No Giorgos Spathas
  Words: Diavaz-o efimeridh-a olo to proi.
  Gloss: read-1.SG.IMP newspaper-SG.ACC all DEF.SG.ACC morning.ACC
  Translation: I am reading (one or more) newspaper(s) the whole morning.
  Contributor: Giorgos Spathas
   Greek (Calabria) No Cristina Guardiano
   Greek (Cappadocian) No Petros Karatsareas
   Greek (Homer) No Cristina Guardiano
   Greek (Pontic) No Cristina Guardiano and Dimitris Michelioudakis
   Guébie No Hannah Sande
   Hebrew No Assif Am-David
+ Hindi Yes Cristina Guardiano and Hilda Koopman
  Words: mãĩne kitaab padhii
  Gloss: I.ERG book read.PST.FEM
  Translation: I read a book / some books (can mean either one or more than one book)
  Comment: Bare indefinite count singular nouns in object position may be ambiguous between a singular and a “plural-like” reading (Dayal 1992). There is no ambiguity if the noun is marked as a plural (ii.a) or combines with the numeral “one” (ek; ii.b). (see property definition)
  Contributor: Cristina Guardiano and Hilda Koopman
+ Hungarian Yes Cristina Guardiano and Hilda Koopman
  Words: egész délután könyvet olvastam
  Gloss: whole afternoon book.ACC read.PST.1SG
  Translation: lit. I read a book whole afternoon I read books all afternoon long (there can be one or many books)
  Comment: see property definition. Bare indefinite count singular nouns in object position may be ambiguous between a singular and a “plural-like” reading (cf. also de Swart and Farkas 2005).
  Contributor: Cristina Guardiano and Hilda Koopman
  Words: Tegnap kalapot vettem, me'ghozza' hatot.
  Gloss: yesterday hat-ACC buy.PAST.1SG even six-ACC
  Translation: Yesterday I did hat-buying, I even bought six (hats).
  Contributor: Anna Szabolcsi
   imbabura quichua Yes Pam Munro
   Italian No Cristina Guardiano
   Italian (Napoletano Antico) No Adam Ledgeway
   Italian (Reggiano) No Giovanni Roversi
+ Kannada (Bengaluru-Mysore) Yes Amrit Amritavalli
  Words: naanu pustaka ooduttiini
  Gloss: I book.sg. read.nonpst.agr
  Translation: 'I read books' (habitually, etc.)'
  Comment: There is a restriction on this possibility, perhaps about human Ns, (see
  Contributor: Amrit Amritavalli
  Words: *avaLu magu nooDikoLLuttaaLe
  Gloss: she child looks.after
  Translation: * intended: she looks after children. This can only mean: She looks after a specific/definite child.
  Contributor: Amrit Amritavalli
  Words: avaLu aane /kudure nooDikoLLuttaaLe
  Gloss: She elephant/horse looks.after.
  Translation: She looks after elephants/horses
  Comment: The plural reading is available for non-human animates (like elephant or horse), but not for human (child).
  Contributor: Amrit Amritavalli
+ Korean Yes Shin-Sook Kim
  Words: na-nun chayk-ul ilk-ess-ta
  Gloss: I-TOP book-ACC read-PST-DECL
  Translation: I read a book / some books. (can mean either one or more than one book)
  Contributor: Shin-Sook Kim
   Kusaal No Hasiyatu Abubakari
   Latin No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Latin (Late) No Chiara Gianollo
   Mada No Bebey Théodore
   Malagasy Yes Hilda Koopman nouns do not show singular plural distinctions
   Mandarin Yes Cristina Guardiano
   Muyang No Bebey Théodore
   nda'nda' Yes Bertille Baron
   Norwegian No Marit Julien
+ Nupe No Jason Kandybowicz
  Words: Mi ka wosika
  Gloss: 1st.sg write letter
  Translation: I wrote a letter
  Comment: Can't mean: 'I wrote letters'
  Contributor: Jason Kandybowicz
   Old English No Willem Koopman
   Old Saxon No George Walkden
   Oluwanga (Eji) No Ceciliane Odangah
   Portuguese No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Romanian No Monica Alexandrina Irimia
   Russian No Cristina Guardiano and Hilda Koopman
+ Sicilian No Cristina Guardiano
  Words: m'akkattài na màkina
  Gloss: to.me bought.1S a car
  Translation: I bought a car
  Comment: The singular count noun cannot be bare and can never have a plural-like reading
  Contributor: Cristina Guardiano
   Spanish No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Swedish No fredrik heinat
+ Teramano No Iara Mantenuto
  Words: so difesə nu leonə
  Gloss: I.am defended a lion
  Translation: I defended a lion
  Contributor: Iara Mantenuto
   Tupi (Ancient) No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Turkish Yes Sozen Ozkan
+ Vietnamese Yes Jimmy Nguyen
  Words: Em đọc sách.
  Gloss: I read book
  Translation: I read books.
  Contributor: Jimmy Nguyen
+ Wolof No Cristina Guardiano and Hilda Koopman
  Words: Awa jàpp-na sàcc
  Gloss: Awa catch-FIN thief
  Translation: Awa caught a thief (cannot mean Awa caught thieves)
  Comment: see property definition. (Tamba, Torrence, Zimmermann 2013: 905, ex 33))
  Contributor: Cristina Guardiano and Hilda Koopman
   Wuhu Chinese Yes Zhuo Chen