Work on regional variation in mass/count nouns?

Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Tue May 15 17:12:37 UTC 2007

On May 14, 2007, at 8:57 AM, Joe Salmons wrote:

> A striking and even stereotyped feature of Upper Midwestern English
> is the use of what most of us have as count nouns as mass nouns and
> vice versa...
> In looking around for literature on this, I haven't found anything
> that treats such differences generally as a regional pattern. DARE
> has a few mentions for particular entries, but only a really brief
> note in the intro about it. In the ads-l archives, folks touch on
> this occasionally for particular words, but I don't see much broader
> discussion there either. Arnold Zwicky's handout on "Counting Chad"
> gives examples along the way to providing what looks like the best
> account of what's going on linguistically with this, but naturally
> doesn't focus systematically on regional differences.
> Surely there's more out there in the published lit, right? And surely
> folks have lots of examples of this, right?

we've been getting anecdotes, but no bibliographic assistance.  i
would very much like to see something on the regional/ethnic/social/
stylistic distribution of C vs. M "scissors" and the like.  there's
surely something there.

some of the double C/M classifications i discussed in the "Counting
Chad" paper are probably very weakly associated with region etc., if
at all.  but this one looks like a good candidate for study.


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