Reevaluating Standard Analyses of Comparison: The View from Malayalam


  • Mythili Menon


In this paper, I will argue for an alternative analysis where both the standard marker than and the comparative marker more encode comparative semantics. The evidence for this comes from Malayalam comparatives. Malayalam lacks an adjectival category and uses complex property concept expressions to encode adjectival meaning (Menon 2013, Menon and Pancheva forthcoming). In the absence of adjectives, nominal and verbal comparatives are formed using two different kinds of comparatives. The comparative marker is an adnomial degree modifier along the lines of ‘in addition to’, ‘in excess of’. The comparative semantics is encoded in the semantically non-vacuous than which functions as a quantifier domain adverbial (similar in spirit to Schwarzschild 2014) whereby it restricts the domain of the degree quantifier more.