Comparatives: was: Re: I came in late.
|From:||Boudewijn Rempt <bsarempt@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, July 25, 1999, 13:27|
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 | http://www.xs4all.nl/~bsarempt