Mountain Semantics

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


In this chapter I give an overview of various aspects of what I here call Mountain semantics, the Boolean semantics of mass nouns, singular count nouns and plural count nouns which developed from the work of Godehard Link. Sections 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3 serve as a basic overview of the framework, highlighting the central role in the theory of the notion of semantic plurality as closure under sum. Sections 3.2, 3.4, and 3.5 discuss the aspect of Mountain semantics for count nouns that will be most central in this book: the semantics of count nouns in Mountain semantics pivots around sets of Boolean atoms, the denotations of singular NPs. This is explored systematically for three types of phenomena: counting in numerical phrases like at least three, count comparison in the semantics of most, and distribution in the semantics of distributive operators like each. For each of these phenomena a semantics is given that makes crucial use of the set of Boolean atoms. Section 3.6 discusses accounts within Mountain semantics of the mass-count distinction. It presents a version of Link’s theory where the count domain is a complete atomic Boolean algebra and the mass domain a complete Boolean algebra that is not atomic, or even atomless, plus operations connecting these domains. The section discusses some basic constraints on the semantics for mass nouns, and makes some suggestions about how to define semantic notions of mass and count in Mountain semantics.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudies in Linguistics and Philosophy
Number of pages33
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NameStudies in Linguistics and Philosophy


  • Boolean semantics
  • Count comparison
  • Distributive operator
  • Mass-count distinction
  • Numerical noun phrase
  • Semantic plurality

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Philosophy


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