Degree morphology
Karen De Clercq, Pavel Caha, Michal Starke, Guido Vanden Wyngaerd
April 2021

This chapter provides a chronological overview of the treatment of degree morphology in the generative literature from the 1970s until today. Starting out from Ultan's (1972) four basic degrees of comparison, it initially widens the scope to consider other types of degree morphology. It then hones in on the expression of the positive, comparative and superlative degrees, and the way these are related to one another. It is shown how the functional superstructure of the adjective became increasingly fine-grained, with the earliest proposals (Bresnan 1973, Corver 1997) involving a partitive layer (QP) with a degree determiner (DEG) on top of the lexical adjectival core. It is then shown how DEG is split up into CMPR and SPRL in the work of Bobaljik (2012), which is based on attested and unattested patterns in root suppletion in the triplet positive-comparative-superlative. Nanosyntactic treatments are discussed, which decompose Bobaljik's heads even further, on the basis of evidence from Czech comparatives and Latin superlatives. Finally, the particular position of the positive degree is discussed, in particular its relation to the comparative, both with respect to their morphological marking and their underlying structural and semantic relationship.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005917
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: to appear in The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Morphology
keywords: adjectives, degrees, positive, comparative, superlative, nano syntax, morphology
previous versions: v1 [April 2021]
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