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Re: Comparatives: was: Re: I came in late.

From:Ed Heil <edheil@...>
Date:Monday, July 26, 1999, 17:50
Tan... obviously cognate with "than."  Ever Swadesh Denden and

Ed Heil -------------------------------
"Facts are meaningless! You can use facts to prove anything
   that's even _remotely_ true!"           -- Homer Simpson

Boudewijn Rempt wrote:

> On Sat, 24 Jul 1999, Nik Taylor wrote: > > > Boudewijn Rempt wrote: > > > I've been looking around for information, but I couldn't find anything > > > directly relating to this. Somewhere in the attics of my mind hovers a > > > quote about some C19 Englishman who dismissed 'primitive' languages for > > > not having comparatives, but that's all. > > > > Well, I suspect that those "primitive" languages simply didn't have a > > morphological comparative. I've read that, for instance, Quechua uses a > > verb meaning something like "to surpass" to indicate comparative. I > > don't know how it's used, my source didn't explain it. I think it's > > something like "he is old surpassing me" for "He is older than me". I > > don't see how a language could have NO way of indicating more and less > > of a quality. > > > > That's probably the point. Since my half-forgotten source is so > ancient, he wouldn't have regarded a non-morphological comparative as > a comparative. I'd really doubt any statement that there are languages > that can't compare attributes either qualitatively or quantitatively. > > Denden doesn't have a morphological comparative, but uses a > construction with _tan_ instead: > > Hamal tan Rorayal taret > Hamal TAN Rorayal rich > 'Hamal is richer than Rorayal' (Perhaps literally: Hamal is, > compared to Rorayal, rich.) > > Hamal tan Rorayal logh taret > Hamal TAN Rorayal like rich > Hamal is as rich as Rorayal > > One of the indications that Denden is a post-Creole, as Irina has > suggested before, is not only the broad range of meanings of _tan_ > (cf. Holm 1988:73), but also the very free word-order, so the following > is equivalent to the above: > > Hamal tan Rorayal taret logh > Hamal TAN Rorayal rich like > Hamal is as rich as Rorayal. > > --- > > Holm, John. 1988. _Pidgins and Creoles_, Volume I: Theory and Structure. > Cambridge: Cambridge Universty Press. > > Boudewijn Rempt | >