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Re: Comparison of adjectives (dumb question department)

From:Eric Christopherson <rakko@...>
Date:Friday, March 21, 2008, 1:17
On Mar 20, 2008, at 3:49 AM, R A Brown wrote:

> ROGER MILLS wrote: >> I wrote: >>>> > Sorry to ask this, but I've forgotten, and can't find the >>>> answer on google >>>> > or wikipedia.... >>>> >>>> > In a sentence like : John is older than Henry -- which is the >>>> comparandum, >>>> > which the comparatum? >> =================================== > [snip] > >> In a more specific discussion of comparatives, I also found that >> in e.g. "John is older than Henry", John is the _target of >> comparison_ and Henry is the _standard of comparison_. That's >> still hard to relate to comparandum--comparatum. > > Naming the _target of comparison_ the 'comparandum' makes perfect > sense; the target is what one is aiming for, so the _target of > comparison_ must, presumably, be the 'thing to be compared' (i.e. > comparandum). So I guess the _standard of comparison_ might be > termed the 'comparatum' (thing which has been compared), i.e. > "John" is the person who is-to-be-compared with some one else, and > "Henry" is that some one else who-has-been-compared with John.
It wasn't easy for me to reach the same conclusions just from looking at the Latin words, but I finally did. At first I was thinking it didn't make much sense inherently -- BOTH arguments are the objects/ patients of comparison. (Actually, I do sometimes hear sentences like "X compares to Y" -- usually in questions like "How does X compare to Y?" -- but the usual construction seems to be comparing one object to another object, rather than a subject comparing (intransitively) to an object.) Anyway, AIUI, both _comparandum_ and _comparatum_ are passive participles (or something similar); the difference is that the former is prospective (future) and the latter is perfect. So in the Latin case too they are both acting as objects/patients of comparison. I thought it was more or less arbitrary to put one in the future (viz., as something expected to be compared in the future) and the other to be in the perfect (as something which has already been compared) -- the comparison event should apply to both of them at the same time. Upon reflection, though, it occurred to me that maybe the standard of comparison *would* be the thing logically considered first, so it does make some sense to put it in the perfect! Something occurs to me in relation to this issue that also relates somewhat to the trigger discussion we've had lately -- Latin doesn't have a passive voice which converts an oblique case or prepositional object into a subject, so you can't straightforwardly say "the thing compared to".
> > I must stress the above is mere guess work based on the meaning of > the Latin terms. > > I know I've seen those terms used in relation >> to comparative constructions!! Quite likely here on Conlang-L..... >> Help! Ray Brown-- does Trask's dictionary of Ling. Terms have >> anything on this?? > > Nope - and I've consulted Crystal's book as well. Neither book > lists 'comparandum' and 'comparatum' (tho both do, of course, > explain 'comparative :) > > > > -- > Ray > ================================== > > ================================== > Frustra fit per plura quod potest > fieri per pauciora. > [William of Ockham]