divendres, 18 de setembre de 2009

AMOUNT IN ENGLISH / THE NOTION OF QUANTITY

The notion of quantity (NOUNS)
In order to understand the notion of quantity, some distinctions must be established:
a) Differentiate between the concept of proper nouns: they have a unique reference, e.g. England, Prime Minister Blair, and therefore number contrast is not possible.
b) And the concept of common nouns: their reference is not unique and number contrast is possible, e.g. countries, kings.
Common nouns show also a semantic distinction. They can be classified as countable and uncountable nouns.
1. According to number, nouns are understood either singular or plural.
Singular relates
- Quantity one.
- Unique reference.
- Undifferentiated mass.
Plural relates to:
- Quantity two or more.
- Unique referent: the Azores.
- Units with plural composition: binoculars.
2.Semantically, nouns can be classified into two categories: Concrete and Abstract.
Concrete nouns are measurable and countable (Piano, student…)
Abstract nouns are non-measurable and uncountable (Music, happiness…)
3.-The GRAMMATICAL category of number:
1.3.1.PLURAL FORMATION. GENERAL RULES
SOUND: /s/ following voiceless sounds
/z/ following voiced sounds
/iz/ following sibilants
SPELLING:
a. General rule: add an -S to the singular.
b. Nouns ending in -O, -CH, -SH, -SS or X: add –ES. Glasses, boxes, tomatoes…
c. Words of foreign origin or abbreviated words ending in O: add –S. photos, pianos, kimonos…
d. Vowel + Y eding: add -S. Boys, toys…
e. Consonant + Y ending: add –IES. Bodies, babies…
1.3.2. IRREGULAR PLURAL FORMATION
VOICING:
-/f/ endings. Ending in f or fe, drop the f or fe and add –VES. (There are 12 cases: knife, wife, life, leaf, half, shelf, calf, loaf, self, sheaf, thief, wolf). Some words accept the regular form: belief, cliff, proof. Some may become voiced or regular: handkerchief, hoof, scarf (they can take either –s or –ves).
-/q/ endings (do not change spelling) may become voiced in a number of cases ( Month, bath, truth, youth…).Some are regular: cloth, death, month… also when there is a consonant preceding the fricative: birth, length…
VOWEL CHANGE:
Foot – feet
Tooth – teeth
Man – men
Goose – geese
Woman – women
Mouse – mice
Child – children
louse – lice
ZERO PLURAL:
Animals (some types of fish do not change in their plural (Trout Cod Salmon Fish Sheep Deer Woodcock Herring Game (used by sportsmen to refer to a hunted animal/s : always in the singular and takes a singular verb).
FOREIGN PLURALS:
. Nouns in –US, plural –I: stimuli, bacilli…
· Nouns in –US, plural –A (technical use): corpora, genera…
· Nouns in –A, plural –AE: antennae, formulae…
· Nouns in –UM, plural –A: curricula, strata…
· Nouns in –EX, -IX, plural –ICES: appendices, indices…
· Nouns in –IS, plural –ES : analyses, theses…
· Nouns in –ON, plural –A: criteria, phenomena…
· Nouns in –OU, plural –I: tempi, virtuosi…
· Some French nouns retain a French plural: bureaux…
NOUNS THAT ARE ALWAYS PLURAL:
· And they take a plural verb: Clothes, police…
· Garments consisting of two parts: pants, pyjamas, trousers,scissors…
WORDS PLURAL IN FORM BUT SINGULAR IN MEANING:
· Words like: News (The news is good)
· Certain diseases: Mumps (paperas), rickets (falta de calci als ossos amb possibles deformacions)…
· Certain games: Darts, bowls, dominoes…
COMPOUND NOUNS:
· Normally the last noun is made plural: boy-friends, travel agents…
· But where man and woman is prefixed, both parts are made plural: men drivers, women drivers…
· The first word is made plural with compounds formed of VERB + ER, Nouns + adverbs: (Hangers-on Lookers-on Runners-up)
And with compounds composed of NOUN+PREP+NOUN: (Ladies-in-waiting sisters-in-law)
· Initials can be made plural: MPs (Members of Parliament), UFOs (Unidentified flying objects)
1.3.3. COUNTABLE / UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS
UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS: are always singular and are not used with a/an.
- Names of substances: bread, cream, paper, tea, gold…
- Abstract nouns: experience, horror, pity, knowledge…
Countable Nouns SINGULAR (A / THE)
They admit the definite and the indefinite article (a student / the student)
Countable Nouns PLURAL (THE / SOME)
They admit the definite article and an indefinite determinant: the students / some students
Uncountable Nouns (THE / SOME)
They only admit the definite article and an indefinite determinant: the music / some music
Many of the uncountable nouns can be used in a particular sense are then countable: e.g. “hair” is considered uncountable, but if we consider each hair separately we say one hair, two hairs…
Some abstract nouns can als be used with A / AN: a knowledge, a pity, a shame…
1.3.4.“THE + ADJECTIVE” WITH A PLURAL MEANING
There are certain adjectives describing the human character or condition that can be preceded by “THE” and used to represent a class of people. These expressions have a plural meaning; they take a plural verb and the pronoun is THEY ( e.g. the poor, the rich, the blind, the disabled…)
“THE” can be used in the same way with national adjectives ending in CH or SH: the Dutch, the Spanish, the Welsh…