LINGUIST List 13.1369

Thu May 16 2002

Qs: Eng Group Possessives, Eng Nouns/Countability

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  1. Natasha Koroleva, group possessive in English
  2. Kazumi S, countability of English nouns

Message 1: group possessive in English

Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 16:05:20 +0000
From: Natasha Koroleva <>
Subject: group possessive in English

Hello, I'm a second year student of Moscow State University, doing
linguistics.I'm currently writing a research work which analises the
phenomenon of group possessive in English (like " the King of Spain's
daughter") and I would like to find out if there are any books in this
area which look closely at the problem. I'm also inerested in compound
words like "must-haves" or "where-abouts" which take the plural form,
and I wonder if there is a special term for them in linguistics. I
would greatly appreciate if you can share some information on these
topics with me.

Thank you.
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Message 2: countability of English nouns

Date: Thu, 16 May 2002 02:19:16 +0000
From: Kazumi S <>
Subject: countability of English nouns

I am trying to make a software system that will teach the countability
of English nouns for Japanese students including myself.

Some nouns in English are countable, others are uncountable, and still
others may be either countable or uncountable. I just have not seen
any clear explanations why a given noun is countable or not. I have
read so many ESL books, and they tend to use "because information is a
category or abstract, it is not countable. But ideas are countable
because they are specific. And information is more general." How would
I know information is general and ideas are specific? Or how would I
know information is a category name and idea is not? Also vegitables
are very irregular to me. We say potatoes, carrots, and onions, but
not lettuces, cabbages, or corns.

Aren't there any features or characteristic of English nouns that
would distinguish them as countable, uncountable, or either (depending
on what they refer to)?

Please let me know if you have any ideas about that.

Thank you. 

Subject-Language: English; Code: ENG 

Language-Family: English; Code: IEFBBBAAA

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