LINGUIST List 21.3311

Tue Aug 17 2010

Books: Syntax/Text/Corpus Linguistics: Breban

Editor for this issue: Maria Moreno-Rollins <>

        1.    Julia Ulrich, English Adjectives of Comparison: Breban

Message 1: English Adjectives of Comparison: Breban
Date: 12-Aug-2010
From: Julia Ulrich <>
Subject: English Adjectives of Comparison: Breban
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Title: English Adjectives of Comparison Subtitle: Lexical and Grammaticalized Uses Series Title: Topics in English Linguistics [TiEL] 63 Published: 2010 Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton

Book URL:

Author: Tine Breban Electronic: ISBN: 9783110216011 Pages: 395 Price: Europe EURO 98.00
Hardback: ISBN: 9783110205800 Pages: 395 Price: Europe EURO 98.00

The book is concerned with a hitherto underresearched grammaticalizationprocess: the development from quality-attributing adjective to determinerin the English noun phrase. It takes a bottom-up approach, based onextensive synchronic and diachronic corpus studies of six Englishadjectives of comparison: other, different, same, identical, similar andcomparable. Their functional diversity in current English is proposed toconstitute a case of layering, representing the original descriptive use,which expresses how like/unlike each other entities are, and a range ofgrammaticalized referential uses, which contribute to the identificationand/or quantification of the entities denoted by the NP. Diachronic andcomparative data material is invoked to verify and further develop thegrammaticalization hypothesis.

The development of adjectives of comparison involves several key conceptsidentified in the literature. Crucially, it is described as a case oftextual intersubjectification driven by the optimalization ofrecipient-design. The actual grammaticalization paths are diverse and arecharacterized by lexical as well as structural persistence, i.e. the samelexical meaning develops into different grammatical functions in differentsyntagmatic configurations.

In order to define the NP as a locus of diachronic change, this studyoffers a new angle on the description of adjectives and the modelling of NPstructure. It advocates the abandonment of the traditional class-basedmodel in favour of a radically functional one, in which functions aredefined in terms of prototypicality so as to allow for gradience betweenand within them. The described grammaticalization processes involvedevelopments from prototypical lexical to grammatical reference-related usewithin the adjectival category, which can be the starting point of furthergradual change to determiners. The traditional relation between classes andpositions is envisaged as a correspondence between functional and syntacticzones. The change in form concomitant with grammaticalization in the NP isargued to consist of the reconfiguration of structural combinatorics andprogressive leftward movement.

The book is of interest to linguistic researchers and graduate students inlinguistics who focus their attention on grammaticalization andsubjectification, the functional description of adjectives, questions ofdeixis and theoretical issues relating to nominal reference.

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax                             Text/Corpus Linguistics                             Grammaticalization                             Historical Linguistics
Subject Language(s): English (eng)
Written In: English (eng )

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