On the lexical semantics of property concept nouns in Basaá

  • Peter Jenks
  • Andrew Koontz-Garboden
  • Emmanuel-Moselly Makasso


This paper considers the link between lexical category and lexical semantics, examining variation in the category of property concept (PC) words (Dixon, 1982; Thompson, 1989)—words introducing the descriptive content in translational equivalents of sentences whose main predicate is an adjective in languages with large open classes of them. Francez and Koontz-Garboden (2015) conjecture that nominal PC words might only have mass-type denotation (conceived in the spirit of Link 1983), as diagnosed by possession in predication (e.g., Kim has beauty/#Kim is beauty). In Basaá, a class of PC nominals we call substance nouns trigger possession in predication, while a class we call adjectival nouns do not, thereby falsifying Francez and Koontz-Garboden’s conjecture. We offer several diagnostics that confirm the substance denotation for the substance nouns, and an individual-characterizing denotation for the adjectival nouns, speculating on whether such nouns have a degree semantics, and whether they represent a crosslinguistically rare category or not.
How to Cite
Jenks, P., Koontz-Garboden, A., & Makasso, E.-M. (1). On the lexical semantics of property concept nouns in Basaá. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 21(1), 643-660. Retrieved from https://ojs.ub.uni-konstanz.de/sub/index.php/sub/article/view/159