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Abstract

On the basis of corpus-derived data, the present paper examines the collocational patterns of the singular and the plural forms of a pair of etymologically and semantically related quantifying nouns (QNs), namely English heap and its Polish equivalent kupa ‘heap’. The primary aim is to determine their respective levels of numeralization, operationalized as the frequency of co-occurrence with animate and abstract N2-collocates in purely quantificational uses, in an attempt to establish whether, and to what extent, the addition of the plurality morpheme bears on the grammaticalization of a nominal of this kind into an indefinite quantifier. Following the observations arrived at by Brems (2003, 2011), the hypothesis is that pluralization should yield a facilitating effect on the numeralization of nouns referring to large quantities by amplifying their inherent scalar implications. The results demonstrate that whereas heaps indeed exhibits a higher percentage of such numeralized uses than heap, kupy ‘heaps’ has turned out to be grammaticalized in the quantifying function to a markedly lesser degree than kupa ‘heap’. It is argued that this apparently aberrant behaviour of kupy ‘heaps’ can nonetheless be elucidated in terms of the specificity of numeralization in Polish, since at its advanced, morphosyntactic stage, the process in question affects solely the singular (accusative) forms of QNs.
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