Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 581–620

Reduced and unreduced phrasal comparatives

Article

Abstract

Degree heads combine with individual (John is taller than [Mary]) as well as clausal arguments (John is taller than [Mary is]). Does the degree head have the same meaning in these two argument structures? Two kinds of answers have been proposed in the literature: I. there is a single meaning where the 2-place degree head combines with a degree predicate, with a reduction operation that derives the DP argument from a degree predicate denoting clausal argument, and II. there are distinct meanings for each argument structure, one combining with an individual denoting DP (3-place degree head) and the other with a degree predicate denoting clause (2-place degree head). We show that languages vary in which of these answers they choose: English goes for option I and Hindi-Urdu and Japanese for versions of option II. Our account of this variation assumes that the crosslinguistic distribution of 2-place and 3-place degree heads is not in itself subject to crosslinguistic parametrization; they are just syntactic projections of the basic meaning of comparison. We advance a specific proposal which derives the differences between the languages from the morphosyntactic properties of ‘than’ and a preference for minimal structure.

Keywords

Crosslinguistic variation in comparatives Phrasal comparatives Clausal comparatives 2 vs. 3-place degree operators Direct Analysis Reduction Analysis Hindi-Urdu Japanese 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Barker, Chris. 2007. Parasitic scope. Linguistics and Philosophy 30(4): 407–444. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beck, Sigrid. 1996. Wh-constructions and transparent logical form. Doctoral dissertation, Universität Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany. Google Scholar
  3. Beck, Sigrid, and Uli Sauerland. 2000. Cumulation is needed: A reply to Winter (2000). Natural Language Semantics 8(4): 349–371. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beck, Sigrid, Toshiko Oda, and Koji Sugisaki. 2004. Parametric variation in the semantics of comparison: Japanese vs. English. Journal of East Asian Linguistics 13(4): 289–344. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bhatt, Rajesh, and Veneeta Dayal. 2007. Rightward scrambling as rightward remnant movement. Linguistic Inquiry 38(2): 287–301. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bhatt, Rajesh, and Roumyana Pancheva. 2004. Late merge of degree clauses. Linguistic Inquiry 34(3): 1–45. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bhatt, Rajesh, and Shoichi Takahashi. 2007. Direct comparisons: Resurrecting the direct analysis of phrasal comparatives. In Proceedings of SALT XVII, eds. Masayuki Gibson and Tova Friedman, 19–36. Ithaca: Cornell University, CLC Publications. Google Scholar
  8. Biberauer, Theresa, Anders Holmberg, and Ian Roberts. 2007. Disharmonic word-order systems and the Final-over-Final-Constraint (FOFC). In Proceedings of the incontro di grammatica generativa. Google Scholar
  9. Bošković, Željko. (1996). Selection and the categorial status of infinitival complements. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 14(2): 269–304. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brame, Michael. 1983. Ungrammatical notes 4: Smarter than me. Linguistic Analysis 12: 323–328. Google Scholar
  11. Fox, Danny. 1999. Reconstruction, binding theory, and the interpretation of chains. Linguistic Inquiry 30(2): 157–196. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fox, Danny. 2000. Economy and semantic interpretation. Linguistic inquiry monographs. 35. Cambridge: MIT Press. Google Scholar
  13. Fox, Danny. 2002. Antecedent contained deletion and the copy theory of movement. Linguistic Inquiry 34(1): 63–96. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Freidin, Robert. 1986. Fundamental issues in the theory of binding. In Studies in the acquisition of anaphora, ed. Barbara Lust, 151–188. Dordrecht: Reidel. Google Scholar
  15. Fukui, Naoki. 1999. An A-over-A perspective on locality. In Linguistics: In search of the human mind—a festschrift for Kazuko Inoue, eds. Masatake Muraki and Enoch Iwamoto, 109–129. Tokyo: Kaitakusha. Google Scholar
  16. Gajewski, Jon. 2008. More on quantifiers in comparative clauses. In Proceedings of SALT XVIII, eds. Jon Gajewski, Tova Friedman, and Satoshi Ito, 340–357. Ithaca: Cornell University, Department of Linguistics. Google Scholar
  17. Grimshaw, Jane. 1993. Minimal projection, heads and optimality. In Rutgers University center for cognitive science technical report, Vol. 4. Google Scholar
  18. Hackl, Martin. 2001. Comparative quantifiers. Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Distributed by MIT Working Papers in Linguistics. Google Scholar
  19. Hankamer, Jorge. 1973. Why there are two than’s in English? In Papers from the ninth regional meeting of the Chicago Linguistics Society, 179–191. Chicago: Chicago Linguistics Society. Google Scholar
  20. Hayashishita, J.R. 2009. Yori-comparatives: A reply to Beck et al. (2004). Journal of East Asian Linguistics 18(2): 65–100. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Heim, Irene. 1985. Notes on comparatives and related matters. Unpublished manuscript, University of Texas at Austin. Google Scholar
  22. Heim, Irene. 2006. Remarks on comparative clauses as generalized quantifiers. Unpublished manuscript, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Google Scholar
  23. Holmberg, Anders. 2000. Deriving OV order in Finnish. In The Derivation of VO and OV, ed. Peter Svenonius, 123–152. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Google Scholar
  24. Kayne, Richard Stanley. 1994. The antisymmetry of syntax. Linguistic inquiry monographs, 25. Cambridge: MIT Press. Google Scholar
  25. Keenan, Edward. 1987. Multiply-headed noun phrases. Linguistic Inquiry 18(3): 481–490. Google Scholar
  26. Kennedy, Christopher. 1999. Projecting the adjective: The syntax and semantics of gradability and comparison. Outstanding dissertations in linguistics, Garland, New York. 1997 UCSC PhD dissertation. Google Scholar
  27. Kennedy, Christopher. 2009. Modes of comparison. In Papers from the 43rd regional meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, eds. Malcolm Elliott, James Kirby, Osamu Sawada, Eleni Staraki, and Suwon Yoon, 141–165. Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society Google Scholar
  28. Kennedy, Christopher, and Jason Stanley. 2008. What an average semantics needs. In Proceedings of SALT XVIII, eds. J. Gajewski, T. Friedman, and S. Ito, 465–482. Ithaca: Cornell University, Department of Linguistics. Google Scholar
  29. Larson, Richard. 1988. Scope and comparatives. Linguistics and Philosophy 11(1): 1–26. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Law, Paul. 1991. Effects of head movement on theories of subjacency and proper government. Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Distributed by MIT Working Papers in Linguistics. Google Scholar
  31. Lebeaux, David. 1988. Language acquisition and the form of grammar. Doctoral dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Google Scholar
  32. Lebeaux, David. 2009. Where does binding theory apply? Linguistic inquiry monographs, 50. Cambridge: MIT Press. Google Scholar
  33. Lechner, Winfried. 2001. Reduced and phrasal comparatives. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 19(4): 683–735. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lechner, Winfried. 2004. Ellipsis in comparatives. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mahajan, Anoop Kumar. 1997. Universal grammar and the typology of ergative languages. In Studies on universal grammar and typological variation, eds. Artemis Alexiadou and Alan T. Hall, 35–57. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Google Scholar
  36. Merchant, Jason. 2009. Phrasal and clausal comparatives in Greek and the abstractness of syntax. Journal of Greek Linguistics 9: 134–164. Google Scholar
  37. Müller, Gereon. 1996. A constraint on remnant movement. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 14(2): 355–407. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Nevins, Andrew, and Pranav Anand. 2003. Some AGREEment matters. In Proceedings of WCCFL 22, eds. Gina Garding and Mimu Tsujimura, 370–383. Somerville: Cascadilla Press. Google Scholar
  39. Nissenbaum, Jon. 2000. Investigations of covert phrase movement. Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Distributed by MIT Working Papers in Linguistics. Google Scholar
  40. Pancheva, Roumyana. 2006. Phrasal and clausal comparatives in Slavic. In Formal approaches to Slavic linguistics 14: The Princeton meeting. Google Scholar
  41. Pancheva, Roumyana. 2007. Than. Handout of Talk Presented at GLOW XXX, Tromsø, April 14. Google Scholar
  42. Pancheva, Roumyana. 2009. More students attended FASL than CONSOLE. Paper presented at Formal approaches to Slavic linguistics: 18th Meeting. Google Scholar
  43. Sauerland, Uli. 1998. The meaning of chains. Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Distributed by MIT Working Papers in Linguistics. Google Scholar
  44. Schwarzschild, Roger, and Karina Wilkinson. 2002. Quantifiers in comparatives. Natural Language Semantics 10(1): 1–41. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Shimoyama, Junko. 2011. Clausal comparatives and cross-linguistic variation. In Proceedings of NELS 39. Amherst: GLSA. Google Scholar
  46. Speas, Margaret. 1994. Null argument in a theory of economy of projection. In University of Massachusetts Occasional Papers in Linguistics, Vol. 17, eds. Elena Benedicto and Jeffrey Runner. Amherst: GLSA. Google Scholar
  47. Stassen, Leon. 1985. Comparison and universal grammar. Oxford: Blackwell. Google Scholar
  48. Sudo, Yasutada. 2009. Invisible degree nominals in Japanese clausal comparatives. In Proceedings of the 5th workshop on Altaic formal linguistics (MITWPL 58), eds. Ryosuke Shibagaki and Reiko Vermeulen. Cambridge: MITWPL. Google Scholar
  49. Takahashi, Shoichi, and Sarah Hulsey. 2009. Wholesale late merger: Beyond the A/A′-distinction. Linguistic Inquiry 40(3): 387–426. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. von Stechow, Arnim. 1984. Comparing semantic theories of comparison. Journal of Semantics 3(1): 1–77. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.South College, Department of LinguisticsUniversity of Massachusetts at AmherstAmherstUSA
  2. 2.General Education, College of EngineeringNihon UniversityTamura-machi Koriyama-shiJapan

Personalised recommendations