Abstracting over Degrees in Yoruba Comparison Constructions

  • Anna Howell


This paper presents a case study of variation in the semantics of degree constructions between English and Yoruba (Niger-Congo, Nigeria). The main question addressed is whether variation between the two languages can be best explained by a parameter, proposed in Beck et al. 2004 and Beck et al. 2009, regulating the (in)ability of a language to bind variables of type ⟨d⟩: the "Degree Abstraction Parameter" (DAP). It is argued that Yoruba requires bound variables of type ⟨d⟩ (a +DAP setting) to explain facts relating to degree relatives and degree questions. These findings differ from those of Beck et al. (2009) who claim, primarily on the basis of data from scope ambiguities in the comparative, that Yoruba has a -DAP status. We propose an alternative account of the lack of scope ambiguities which rests on differences in the semantics of differential measure phrases in Yoruba and English.
How to Cite
Howell, A. (1). Abstracting over Degrees in Yoruba Comparison Constructions. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 17, 271-288. Retrieved from https://ojs.ub.uni-konstanz.de/sub/index.php/sub/article/view/345