S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 53 Number 1/3 (2017)
Typology of Quantifiers and the Mass/Count Distinction: A Case Study of Chinese xie
- Kim, Kyumin
- Issue Date
- Language Research, Vol.53 No.3, pp. 415-443
- In a recent approach to the internal structure of nominals, all nouns across languages are proposed to be mass, and thus need to be portioned out (i.e., divided) in order to interact with the count system (Borer 2005): in syntax, division is performed via a Div(ided) head that takes mass noun as a complement, and Div is proposed to be instantiated by an English-type plural -s or a Chinese-type classifier. Once division is performed on a mass, the divided noun can be counted via a numeral that appears in a quantifying phrase (#P) projected above DivP. Assuming Borer (2005), this paper examines the morpheme xie some in Chinese, and proposes that it is a non-counting quantifier instantiating a # head that takes DivP as its complement. The proposed account has consequences for the typology of quantifiers and the ongoing debate on the mass/count distinction: division does not necessarily force a counting function, and the mass/count distinction, if it exists at all, is a structural one, not a lexical one.