City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Oct 20, 2021 in Questions about English Grammar by M (4,830 points)
retagged Oct 20, 2021 by M | 151 views

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According to old school-grammar, a noun is defined as a name of a person, a place or a thing, which refers primarily to prototypical nouns. The semantic classification of noun is vast and it can be generally categorized with respect to the following features:

A. Concreteness​

1) Concrete nouns: entities exist in both space and time

e.g., rock, tree, horse, woman, house, knife, chair, hill, sun

2) Temporal nouns: entities exist only in time

e.g., Sunday, year, morning, minute, July, anniversary

3) Abstract nouns: entities can not be defined in terms of either time or space.

e.g., freedom, love, independence, size, policy, refusal

B. Animacy, Artifactness, Humanity

1) animate (human): woman, boy, speaker

2) animate (non-human): horse, bat, snake

3) inanimate (natural nouns): grass, tree, river

4) inanimate (artifacts): house, knife

C. Countability (individuation)

1) Count nouns (individuated entities): man, stone, drop, right, love, appearance, control

2) Mass nouns (groups/unindividuated entities): sand, water, air, right, love, appearance


Givón, Talmy. 1993. English Grammar: A function-based introduction (Vol. 1 & 2). John Benjamins Publishing.

answered Oct 20, 2021 by M (4,830 points)

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