Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 427–454 | Cite as

Comparative coordination vs. comparative subordination

Original Paper

Abstract

The paper explores the syntax of comparatives in English and German. The account builds on the insight that the syntax of comparatives is a combination of coordination and subordination. At times a than-expression is coordinate to a string that immediately precedes it, and at other times, it is subordinate to it. Six key observations are the pillars of the account. These observations accomplish three goals: 1) They determine when comparative coordination obtains, as opposed to comparative subordination; 2) they predict the form that a particular than-expression can assume (e.g. phrasal, clausal); and most importantly, 3) they predict to a large extent the distribution of than-expressions. The key concept is functional equivalence. One can predict the distribution of many than-expressions by acknowledging where they can appear with respect to their functional equivalents. The theory-neutral account remains entirely in surface syntax.

Keywords

Comparatives Coordination Functional equivalence Comparative deletion 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and LiteraturesThe Pennsylvania State UniversityState CollegeUSA

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