LINGUIST List 2.196

Sunday, 5 May 1991

Disc: Comparatives, Addresses, and Various

Editor for this issue: <>


Directory

  1. Robert D Hoberman, Comparatives
  2. bert peeters, Comparatives and superlatives in French
  3. , Addresses
  4. Steve Harlow, RE: Han Yang
  5. , A little humour.
  6. Carol Neidle, Re: Sentence Final Particles

Message 1: Comparatives

Date: Thu, 2 May 1991 13:53 EDT
From: Robert D Hoberman <RHOBERMANccmail.sunysb.edu>
Subject: Comparatives
Some languages that lack a fixed distinction between comparative and 
superlative, either morphological or of the MORE/MOST type, are Arabic, 
Biblical Hebrew, and Aramaic (including modern Aramaic). I can supply 
references to grammars if needed.

The question is more complicated than it seems, though, because it is always 
possible to make the more/most distinction somehow. Even if there's no way to 
say 'He is the most insane" you can always say 'He is more insane than them 
all" or more precisely 'He is insane than them all'; obviously there are many 
other possibilities. So the question is how fixed are these phrasal options.

Without having investigated this matter specifically, it seems to me that in 
the kind of modern Aramaic I've worked on, although there is a word for 'more' 
as in 'more insane', the superlative uses the simple adjective with the 
definite article: 'the biggest of them' is simply THE BIG OF-THEM. I'm not 
sure of this, though. But if it is correct, is there a distinction between 
comparative and superlative?

Bob Hoberman
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Message 2: Comparatives and superlatives in French

Date: Fri, 3 May 91 14:37:55 +1000
From: bert peeters <peeterstasman.cc.utas.edu.au>
Subject: Comparatives and superlatives in French
I didn't reply at first to Rochel Gelman's query because I felt French was
maybe not the kind of language fitting the description. But after seeing
Dominique Estival's reaction, let me add just two things:

1) "la voiture plus grosse" is not unacceptable if it means "the larger car"
 in a sentence such as "Les voitures plus grosses sont aussi inevitablement
 plus cheres" (Bigger cars are also inevitably more expensive)
2) In Italian "la macchina piu grande" is ambiguous: it can mean either "the
 larger car" (as in 1) above) or "the largest car" (a postposed superlative
 doesn't take the definite article in Italian, but it does in French).

Bert Peeters <peeterstasman.cc.utas.edu.au>
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Message 3: Addresses

Date: 2 May 91 16:31 EST
From: <pchapinnsf.gov>
Subject: Addresses
Addresses:

Norbert Hornstein
Dept. of Linguistics
Univ. of Maryland, College Park
College Park, MD 20742

Lenora A. Timm
Linguistics Committee
University of California, Davis
Davis, CA 95616

Paul Chapin, NSF

[Vicki Fromkin also kindly supplied the addresses]
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Message 4: RE: Han Yang

Date: Fri, 3 May 91 9:54 GMT
From: Steve Harlow <SJH1vaxb.york.ac.uk>
Subject: RE: Han Yang
Re: Han Yang
To: Wenming Lu

Our Mailer doesn't recognise your address, so I'm broadcasting this. HY is
now called Han Yang Saxena and is teaching in the Department of Chinese
Studies, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK. I don't have a net address for
her. I believe that her thesis was to be published (in Japan), but I don't
know whether this has happened. The telephone # of Leeds U is +44 532 431751.

Steve Harlow
SJH1VAXA.YORK.UK.AC
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Message 5: A little humour.

Date: Fri, 3 May 91 12:35
From: <EDMONDSONWHvax1.computer-centre.birmingham.ac.uk>
Subject: A little humour.
The poem you reproduce in 188 is incomplete.

The full version (I understand) is by Charivarius, the pseudonym of a Dutch
high school teacher and linguist G.N. Trenite (1870-1946). It is called
The Chaos.

You can find this information, and the poem, on pages 223-226
of 'Principles of Computer Speech', by Ian H Witten, Academic Press, 1982.

It is a useful exercise for students trying to do speech synthesis from text.
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Message 6: Re: Sentence Final Particles

Date: Fri, 3 May 91 17:34:35 -0400
From: Carol Neidle <carollouis-xiv.bu.edu>
Subject: Re: Sentence Final Particles
I am writing in reply to Wen-ying Yang, who is

 > currently working on some Chinese sentence-final particles

You might also be interested in Sam-po Law's 1990 dissertation 
(from Boston University) :

 The Syntax and Phonology of Cantonese Sentence-Final Particles.

Sam-po is now at Johns Hopkins, and her e-mail address is
lawcogsci.cog.jhu.edu.


Carol Neidle

[End Linguist List, Vol. 2, No. 196]
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