Wellwood Colloquium

April 16
3:30-5pm
Pick 016
Northwestern University
Measurement in grammar
I argue that all comparative sentences with "more", "as", etc., involve a morpheme sometimes pronounced "much" (Bresnan 1973) that expresses the concept of measurement (e.g. Berka 1983). I model this as a contextually-determined, structure-preserving map from non-degree relational structures (ordered objects for measurement) to degree relational structures (ordered measurement values; cf. Schwarzschild 2006; Wellwood, Hacquard, Pancheva 2012). Measured objects include, for example, portions of water (Cartwright 1975), parts of running events (Bach 1986), and amounts of tallness and heat. The theory expects the grammatical context of the comparative to regularly affect which dimensions for comparison are available; I show that many such patterns can be observed.