All notional mass nouns are count nouns in Yudja

Suzi Lima


This paper investigates the linguistic expression of individuation and counting in Yudja (Juruna family), a Tupi language spoken in Brazil. Relying on the principles of mereotopology (Casati and Varzi 1999, Varzi 2007), the main claim of this paper is that in Yudja all nouns can be used as count nouns. That is, in Yudja maximal self-connected concrete portions of a kind can be considered as atoms and can be counted. This claim is based on two fundamental properties of Yudja. First, all notional mass nouns can be directly combined with numerals. Second, the results of quantity judgments studies with Yudja children and adults suggest that all nouns can be directly combined with count-quantifiers and that count-quantifiers are necessarily interpreted as referring to the number of concrete portions. These properties together suggest that all nouns in Yudja are interpreted as count nouns.

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