Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 683–735 | Cite as

Reduced And Phrasal Comparatives

  • Winfried Lechner


In this paper, I defend two hypotheses as to the derivation of phonologically reduced comparative constructions. On the one hand, I present evidence which supports an ellipsis analysis of phrasal comparatives over base-generation approaches. On the other hand, it is argued that the restrictions on deletion in comparatives are exhaustively determined by the principles governing Gapping, Right Node Raising and Across-The-Board movement in coordinate structures. It follows that construction specific reduction operations such as Comparative Ellipsis can be dispensed with. Evidence for these two hypotheses comes from generalizations about the surface shape of the comparative complement and its positional distribution inside the matrix clause. As for the reason why comparatives, which manifest instances of semantic subordination, can be targeted by processes widely held to be restricted to coordinate structures, it is proposed that optional extraposition of the comparative complement establishes a derived comparative coordination, which emulates the syntax of base-generated conjunctions. The results of this study furthermore indicate that (i) comparatives need to satisfy a hitherto unidentified condition which limits possible relations between the head of an empty operator movement construction and the operator, and that (ii) the Coordinate Structure Constraint has to be formulated as a genuinely syntactic restriction.


Structure Constraint Surface Shape Reduction Operation Operator Movement Positional Distribution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Winfried Lechner
    • 1
  1. 1.Seminar für SprachwissenschaftWilhelmstraßeTübingenGermany

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