Anglistika státnice - morfologie a syntax (number and countability)

Anglistika státnice – morfologie a syntax (number and countability)

Nouns – number and countability: the semantico – grammatical nature of number and countability and the degree of grammaticalization in English and Czech (productive and less productive types of plural formation, singularia tantum, pluralia tantum, plurals in compound nouns, abstract and concrete nouns, nouns uncountable in particular meanings, singularization, e.g. a cake of soap, a bar of chocolate)


a) singular
b) plural
c) dual – non productive category in both EN + CZ



– rules for plural: adding -s, after fricatives + affricates adding -es (this is called dissimilation = adding a special sound to make words less similar)
– non productive plural formation:
a) phonemic: calf ->calves
b) morpheme alternation: man -> men
c) foreign plurals: minimum -> minima
d) in compounds: 1) without any noun: forget-me-not -> -s to the last segment -> forget-me-nots
2) noun as a head: son-in-law -> -s to the head -> sons-in-law
3) 2 nouns:-s to the last one -> boy friends
4) compound having man/woman: adding -s to both -> women drivers

Words having singular form but plural meaning – collective nouns a) to denote a group of people – e.g. class
b) to denote a group of objects – e.g. China

Words having plural form but singular meaning
1) plural form to denote a composite object – e.g. scissors, trousers
2) plural forms of uncountable nouns to denote very high amount of it – frosts, snows

singularia tantum – have only SG form, agree with SG verb
– mostly uncountable nouns – both concrete and abstract
– names of games, of science, materials (billiards, mathematics)

pluralia tanta – have only PL form, agree with PL verb
– clothes: pyjamas, instruments: scissors, diseases: measles



Nouns 1) common a) concrete – dog
b) abstract – song
2) proper a) concrete – luggage
b) abstract – music
– uncountable nouns go with very limited number of quantifiers
– EN: higher degree of grammatalization – e.g. by the presence of the null article
– CZ: countability is only semantically manifested – e.g. we don’t say 3 peníze
– C X UC a) material UC -> product C (chocolate -> chocolates)
b) substance UC -> a kind of substance (wine -> wines)
c) substance UC -> a portion of substance (coffee -> a coffee)


blocking effect

  • e.g. glass X glasses, paper X papers (= newspapers)


Lexical means of singularization

a) special lexical entry with a little semantic meaning – an act of friendliness
b) countable synonym – work (UC) -> job (C)
c) in -ing words we use the nominative construction – smoking -> have a smoke
d) pluralia tantum for people – we add man (e.g. the French (UC) -> Frenchman (C))

Author: Je to boj

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