Retour vers liste

Détail de la contribution

Auteur: Akira WATANABE

Count Syntax and the Partitivity

Abstract/Résumé: In this presentation, I will argue that the part-whole relation presupposes the availability of count nouns. The use of classifiers is often regarded as an indispensable means for counting mass nouns (Chierchia 1998), but I will show that the singular count reading is available in a Japanese partitive construction without the help of a classifier. We are then led to the conclusion that the part-whole relation is a more reliable indicator of the availability of count syntax. [Data and analysis]: The key phenomenon is the following contrast: (1) a. Ringo-no ichibu-ga kusatteiru. apple-gen part-nom is.rotten ‘Part of the apple(s) is rotten.’ b. Ichibu-no rongo-ga kusatteiru. part-linker apple-nom is.rotten ‘Part of the apples is rotten.’ (1a) can mean that some of the apples are rotten but also that part of the contextually unique apple is rotten. This latter reading, exemplifying so-called mass partitives such as (2), disappears in (1b), where the order of ‘part’ and ‘apple’ is flipped. (2) Most of the city is off-limits to foreigners. Thus, the singular reading of ‘ringo’ is not due to vagueness but is made available by the structure underlying (1a). Crucially, there is no classifier involved in (1). I propose that in (1a), the noun ‘ichibu’ takes the DP projection of ‘ringo’ as its complement as in (3a). (1b) is derived by first raising the NP portion of the complement into #P as in (3b) and then the remnant projection headed by ichibu into a still higher projection as in (3c). (3) a. [#P [ringo ichibu] #] b. [#P ringo [ (trace) ichibu] #] c. [[ (trace) ichibu] [#P ringo (trace) #] F] What rules out the count singular reading in (1b) is the step from (3a) to (3b), which raises a count noun ‘ringo’ into the domain of #P, guaranteeing that a set of countable apples is part of a still larger individual, which is necessarily the plurality of that countable unit. [Countability and partitive constructions]: Wilhelm (2008) has shown on the basis of Dëne Sųłiné that countability does not depend on number morphology or on classifiers. The Japanese phenomenon indicates that it is the part-whole relation that is tied to the mass/count distinction, giving support to Moltmann’s (1998) idea that the notion of an integrated whole is essential for a singular count noun. Note also that Watanabe (2010) proposes that the feature [±augmented] licenses numerals. Significantly, [±augmented] encodes whether or not we have a non-minimal entity, which is defined as having a proper subpart. His proposal thus points to the centrality of the part-whole relation for countability, too. I will also take up the possibility that a ‘part’ noun, whether overt or covert, is always involved in partitive constructions (Chierchia 1997).