Monday, 23 November, 2020 - 14:00

On counting wholes and parts: Cognitive and linguistic perspectives

Marcin Wągiel (Masaryk University in Brno)

In the talk, I will explore natural language expressions concerning counting entities conceptualized as whole objects as well as entities conceptualized as parts. I will present psychological and linguistic evidence for the relevance of the non-overlap and integrity conditions on numeric quantification. I will discuss Gelman & Gallistel’s (1978) three principles of counting and the corresponding Quinean bootstrapping theory of number acquisition (Carey 2009). Next, I will confront it with the object/substance distinction in children’s and other primates’ perception (Soja et al. 1991 and Hauser & Carey 2003, respectively). Furthermore, I will discuss a number of related cognitive phenomena such as the part-whole perception (Elkind et al. 1964), the whole object assumption (Markman 1990) and the relevance of discrete entities (Shipley & Shepperson 1990). Finally, I will present linguistic evidence including, e.g., object mass nouns (Barner & Snedeker 2005) and proportional quantifiers (Wągiel 2018) demonstrating that human language faculty, i.e., not only perception but also grammar, is sensitive to the notions of non-overlap and integrity.


***The talk will be streamed via Zoom. For details how to join the Zoom meeting, please write to sevcikova et***