A Parallel between Countability and Atomicity

Eun-joo Kwak 1
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1Sejong University

Copyright ⓒ 2016, Sejong University Language Research Institue. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Published Online: Jan 01, 2017


The general notion of countability is that count nouns are pluralized and denote atomic entities while mass nouns are used only in singular forms and denote non-atomic entities. However, diverse linguistic data show that the correlation between countability and plurality is not tenable. In this study, challenges to the classical view are reviewed. Pointing out problems with the challenges, I argue that countability and atomicity are correlated.

Keywords: countability; atomicity; plurality; count nouns; mass nouns



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