applicative-marking and the comparative?
kertz at LING.UCSD.EDU
Mon Dec 7 21:59:17 UTC 2009
I'm a member of a group at UCSD that is documenting Moro, an
endangered language of the Kordofan family spoken in the Nuba
Mountain region of Sudan.
We've identified a strategy for forming comparatives in Moro where an
adjective or verb is marked as an applicative, increasing its valence
to accommodate an additional nominal argument serving as the
comparand. That extra argument otherwise looks like a benefactive,
and in some cases we get ambiguity.
For example, a string like:
1) Kuku ate-APPLIC mango Nalo quickly.
can mean either 'Kuku ate the mango more quickly than Nalo' or 'Kuku
ate the mango quickly for Nalo.'
With adjectives, context usually supports the comparative
interpretation, but a benefactive reading is still possible. So a string like:
2) Kuku tall-APPLIC Nalo.
means 'Kuku is taller than Nalo', but in the right context could mean
'Kuku is tall for Nalo.'
We know that it's common for a comparand to show case marking
consistent with a benefactive, but we're not certain how common it is
to also see applicative marking on the verb, or for languages where
an adjective can bear an applicative, how often the applicative is
used to form the comparative of the adjective.
We've turned up a possible comparable example in Makassarese, but
maybe LINGTYP list members know of more?
The Moro Language Project
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