LINGUIST List 2.189

Thursday, 2 May 1991

Disc: Comparatives

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Directory

  1. David Nash, Comparatives
  2. , comparatives and superlatives
  3. Dominique Estival, Queries and Responses
  4. John Phillips, Re: Comparatives

Message 1: Comparatives

Date: Thu, 2 May 91 07:38:40 EST
From: David Nash <dgn612csc2.anu.edu.au>
Subject: Comparatives
 Query from Rochel Gelman (Rochelcognet.ucla.edu) of the Psych Dept, UCLA.

 Reference needed re languages which do not differentiate between
 comparative and superlative forms of adjectives [...]

This topic is covered in:

Stassen, Leon. 1985. Comparison and Universal Grammar. x+373pp.
ISBN 0-631-14058-1 Oxford, New York: Basil Blackwell.

Stassen cites old sources on the Australian language Aranda
(Arrernte); many modern grammars of Australian languages would
illustrate the type of interest.

David Nash
Australian Institute of Aboriginal &
 Torres St Islander Studies (AIATSIS) Linguistics, Arts
GPO Box 553 ANU
Canberra ACT 2601 Canberra ACT 2601
Fax: (06)2497310
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Message 2: comparatives and superlatives

Date: Wed, 1 May 1991 19:52:07 EDT
From: <GATHERCOSERVAX.fiu.edu>
Subject: comparatives and superlatives
In response to Vicki Fromkin's/Rochel Gelman's request for references on 
languages for which there is no distinction between the comparative and 
superlative: Some time back Russell Ultan did a nice typological study, 
published in *Working Papers on Language Universals* vol. 9, 117-162, out 
of Stanford, 1972.

Ginny Gathercole
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Message 3: Queries and Responses

Date: Thu, 2 May 1991 09:50:33 +0200
From: Dominique Estival <estivaldivsun.unige.ch>
Subject: Queries and Responses
In reply to Rochel Gelman query about adjectives:

French doesn't differentiate between comparative and superlative forms 
of adjectives. The form is always analytic, with the morpheme "plus".
The interpretation can be disambiguated by use of the definite article 
and restrictions on word order:

. la plus grosse voiture/ *la voiture plus grosse/ la voiture la plus grosse
 (the largest car)

. la plus grosse voiture
 (the larger car)

. une plus grosse voiture/ une voiture plus grosse/ *une voiture une plus grosse
 (a larger car)

Dominique Estival
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Message 4: Re: Comparatives

Date: Thu, 2 May 91 11:07:15 BST
From: John Phillips <johnlanguage-linguistics.umist.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: Comparatives
The Manx language does not differentiate morphologically between
comparative and superlative forms of adjectives, though the
meaning is usually obvious in context since the `comparative'
most often occurs with a than-clause and the `superlative'
with a definite article.
 The form is made by prefixing s to the adejctive, so
e.g. `lajer' is "strong", `duinney s'lajer na mee' is
"a stronger man than me", `yn duinney s'lajer' is "the strongest
man". Ambiguity (from the English point of view) can occur
e.g. in predicative constructions such as `ta mee ny s'lajer'
"I am stronger/strongest".

 John Phillips

[End Linguist List, Vol. 2, No. 189]
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