Another look at superlative modifiers as modified superlatives

  • Yi-Hsun Chen

Abstract

This paper studies the morpho-semantic puzzle of superlative modifiers (SMs) where in many languages SMs typically involve a quantity adjective and a degree morpheme. This paper takes English at least as a case study and offers a decompositional analysis connecting its semantic properties with its morphological components. One central proposal is that SMs like at least can be structurally decomposed into three morphological pieces: a quantity adjective, a superlative and an existential operator. It is shown that the current analysis not only explains the role of the quantity adjective and degree morphology in the semantics of at least, but also captures two types of semantic parallels suggested in the literature on SMs: the parallel with disjunction and the parallel with epistemic indefinites.
Published
2019-07-20
How to Cite
Chen, Y.-H. (2019). Another look at superlative modifiers as modified superlatives. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 23(1), 231-248. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2019.v23i1.513