A little "more" on comparison: variation and common cognitive and linguistic properties



Argitaratua 2018-09-15
Laura Vela-Plo


This paper discusses the basic cognitive and linguistic properties of a universal phenomenon: inequality comparison. As will be shown from linguistic and neuropsychological points of view, the cognitive representation of inequality comparison is conceived as a spatial relation (Stassen 1985; Philips et al. 2004), in which two elements stand in an asymmetrical relation with regard to a property or parameter of the comparison. The present study offers a multi-perspective and comparative analysis of degree and amount inequality comparative structures. In particular, it studies the linguistic expression of comparison in three typologically different languages, English, Spanish and Basque. These languages present similar paths in the diachronic evolution of their inequality comparative structures, which are claimed to be related to the semantic properties and cognitive representation of comparison universally. On the basis of the discussion of degree and amount inequality comparatives in these languages, I then summarize the semantic and morphosyntactic features they share, as well as their major points of variation. I also review some of the primary proposals that have been put forth to capture the properties of these structures (Brucart 2003 and Gallego 2013, for Spanish, and Goenaga 2012, for Basque). On this ground, I then propose an alternative analysis for Basque inequality comparatives, which derives the basic properties of these constructions and overcomes some of the difficulties that the preceding analyses had to face.
Structure of article: § 1. Introduction; § 2. The cognitive representation of comparison; § 3. The typology of inequality comparatives; § 4. Syntactic representation of inequality; comparatives; § 5. Inequality comparatives revisited; § 6. Concluding remarks; 7. References.

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Vela-Plo, Laura. 2018. «A Little "more" on Comparison: Variation and Common Cognitive and Linguistic Properties». Anuario Del Seminario De Filología Vasca "Julio De Urquijo" 52 (1/2):817-51. https://doi.org/10.1387/asju.20232.
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