It has long been recognized that property concepts (PCs) (Dixon 1982, Thompson 1989) -- notions that are canonically expressed by adjectives in English -- are often expressed by nouns or verbs in other languages. However, it remains an open question whether there is variation in the lexical semantics of these words that is tied to this variation in category. For example, Francez & Koontz-Garboden 2017 show that some property concept nouns do not characterize individuals (like e.g., good, a (context-sensitive) set of good individuals), but rather denote, in the mass domain, predicates of abstract qualities (e.g., goodness, a set of portions of goodness). Menon & Pancheva 2014 build on this and conjecture that the roots of all property concept words, independent of category, have Francez & Koontz-Garboden's mass semantics; it is then merely variation in categorization that masks this underlying universality. In this talk, we provide evidence for Menon & Pancheva's idea that many PC roots are mass-denoting, drawing on data from possessive categorization in unrelated languages (Ulwa, Washo, English) in the nominal, verbal, and adjectival domains. We then consider how these observations interact with claims made elsewhere in the literature (e.g., Beck et al 2009; Bochnak 2015; Bowler 2016; Deal & Hohaus 2019 i.a.) that languages vary in whether their property concepts have a degree semantics or not. <https://personalpages.manchester.ac.uk/staff/emily.hanink/>
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