LINGUIST List 15.3150
Wed Nov 10 2004
Editor for this issue: Jessica Boynton <jessicalinguistlist.org>
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Message 1: Comparatives/Syntax
From: Heather Taylor <hltaylorwam.umd.edu>
In regards to query 15.1224.
On April 16, 2004, I posted a Q to LINGUIST (15.1224) about expressions like
(1) The bigger the dog, the harder to train
(2) The deeper a well is, the fresher its water
(3) The quieter the house, the more likely the baby is to sleep
Ora Matushansky pointed out that these go by the term "comparative
correlatives" and referred me to references by Borsley, Culicover and
Jackendoff, and den Dikken.
Laurence Horn pointed me in the direction of McCawley (sure enough, there
is a proceedings paper by McCawley on the subject in Berkeley Linguistic
Society 1988, as well as discussing it in his 1998 book). Larry also sent
me the URL for den Dikken's paper.
Frank Gladney said that under "the" in Webster's (and Merriam-Webster's)
dictionaries, the etymology of the second definition is instrumental case
form of the definite article.
Bruce Despain referred to Jesperson, telling me that Jesperson analyzed the
"the" in "the more the merrier" not as an article, but as an earlier form
of an adverb.
Thank you very much to all who responded for your help! I appreciate it
Heather Lee Taylor
University of Maryland, College Park
Linguistic Field(s): Syntax
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