Iceberg Semantics for Count Nouns and Mass Nouns

Fred Landman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter develops the Iceberg semantics account of the distinctions count-mass and neat-mess; it further develops the DP semantics and addresses some mass-count puzzles. In Sect. 6.1 the notions count, mass, neat, mess are defined for i-sets, then generalized from i-sets to intensions and from there to NPs (and DPs). The intensional theory is set up in such a way that it is in principle possible for count noun interpretations to violate (under pressure) the disjointness requirement. The section ends with the first installment of a discussion of the disjointness requirement. (The second installment takes place in Chap. 11). Sections 6.2 and 4.3 illustrate Iceberg semantics for DPs and introduce the Iceberg operation of singular shift, the operation which reinterprets an Iceberg plurality as an Iceberg singularity. This operation is used in Sects. 6.4 and 6.5 to give an analysis in Iceberg semantics of the portioning problem discussed in Sect. 4.5, and another problem known as Gillon’s problem.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudies in Linguistics and Philosophy
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages27
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NameStudies in Linguistics and Philosophy
ISSN (Print)0924-4662
ISSN (Electronic)2215-034X


  • Groups
  • Mass-count distinction
  • Neat-mess distinction
  • Plurality
  • Singular shift


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