Semantics for counting and measuring

Susan Rothstein

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

88 Scopus citations


The use of numerals in counting differs quite dramatically across languages. Some languages grammaticalize a contrast between count nouns (three cats; three books) and ʼnon-count’ or mass nouns (milk; mud), marking this distinction in different ways. Others use a system of numeral classifiers, while yet others use a combination of both. This book draws attention to the contrast between counting and measuring, and shows that it is central to our understanding of how we use numerical expressions, classifiers and count nouns in different languages. It reviews some of the more recent major linguistic results in the semantics of numericals, counting and measuring and theories of the mass/count distinction, and presents the author’s new research on the topic. The book draws heavily on crosslinguistic research, and presents in-depth case studies of the mass/count distinction and counting and measuring in a number of typologically unrelated languages. It also includes chapters on classifier constructions and on adjectival uses of measure phrases.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages276
ISBN (Electronic)9780511734830
ISBN (Print)9781107001275
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Susan Rothstein 2017.


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