By Vilem Mathesius, Josef Vachek
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Additional resources for A Functional Analysis of Present Day English on a General Linguistic Basis
48 FUNCTIONAL ONOMATOLOGY Another exception to the general rule, found in higher style, is the endowment of nouns with the gender appropriate to the respective nouns in Latin. Thus the sun is sometimes referred to as he (cf. sol in Latin, le soleil in French), the moon in turn as she (according to luna, la lune). The names of mountains and rivers are often referred to as he (cf. mons, fluvius) in some cases, however, in accordance with Latin names rivers are personified as women). Even abstract ideas are sometimes personified: Love = he, i.
E. 'a nation'. Then it takes the article and forms the plural, cf. the peoples of India. More frequently, however, it has plural meaning. I n this case it is construed as a plural and takes no article, cf. many people (There were some twenty people only). Similarly, plural conception m a y prevail in nouns like police (cf. The police are sure that... There were some twenty police there), cattle, clergy and others. These nouns can also be used as singulars if the idea of one whole, though complex, is in the foreground.
This is a case of a s p e c t u a l m o d i f i c a t i o n . Another aspectual modification in nouns is represented by the grammatical number (book—books) or definiteness (η book — the book); here again the basic meaning is preserved, which is precisely what characterizes aspectual modification. Hence aspectual modification can be opposed to morphological classification on the one hand, and to c a t e g o r i a l t r a n s i t i o n s on the other. Whereas in aspectual modification the basic meaning of the word does not change, categorial transition does involve a change in the meaning of the word in t h a t the word passes from one word category into another, its meaning thus being changed (e.
A Functional Analysis of Present Day English on a General Linguistic Basis by Vilem Mathesius, Josef Vachek