Volume 3, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-6759
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9897
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To understand the use of a grammatical form in one language, it is sometimes helpful to look at another language. In this paper, I propose that the English bare plural expresses nonbounded quantity in a mental space, just as the Finnish bare partitive does. The different formal means used by English and Finnish thus converge in the cognitive unity of the grammatical structuring of the lexical content. The bare plural is not the plural counterpart of the indefinite singular, that is, it does not express the discourse status of its referent, but rather, it belongs to the quantity domain. One of the basic tenets of cognitive grammar is that grammar is motivated. I propose that the nonbounded semantics of the bare plural is based on a formal-semantic analogy with mass nouns. This same motivation operates on bare singulars as well, for they too can be used to create a cognitive image similar to that of mass nouns.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): bare plurals; English/Finnish; quantity/reference
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