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1.2.2.Common nouns

This section provides a classification of the common nouns. The basic semantic distinction to be made is that between concrete and abstract nouns (which can also be made in the case of the proper nouns; cf. (21)). Concrete nouns are usually defined as nouns denoting objects that are “tangible” (that one can see or take hold of), whereas abstract nouns denote “non-tangible” entities such as processes, phenomena, emotions, properties, etc. As a result, some classifications include nouns like geur'smell' and geluid'sound' in the set of abstract nouns, but we will not follow this; in the classification presented here, concrete nouns will be defined in terms of physical existence, and therefore include nouns denoting entities that can be heard, tasted or smelled, or, in some cases, only observed indirectly (e.g., microbes, gases, black holes, or force fields). Within the category of concrete nouns, various subcategories can be distinguished, which are discussed in Like concrete nouns, the category of abstract nouns can be shown to consist of a number of subcategories, which are discussed in It is possible for a noun belonging to one subclass to be used as a noun belonging to another subclass; such non-prototypical uses (traditionally referred to as “conversion” between the two subcategories) are dealt with as well.

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