Comparative Adjective Marking (Feature 41)
In comparative constructions, many languages mark the adjective, either by a suffix (especially in European languages), e.g. English -er in bigg-er, or by a degree word, e.g. French plus in plus grand.
Note that we use adjective in a semantic sense, as in Feature 3
(”Order of Adjective and Noun”), to refer to gradable property concepts (see APiCS Glossary, adjective). Thus, if your language has no syntactic adjective–verb distinction, this feature is still relevant, because all languages have gradable property concepts.
In comparative constructions, the element with which the subject is compared is called the standard, e.g. (He is bigger) than Peter (see also Feature 42, “Comparative Standard Marking” ). For this feature, please consider only constructions in which the standard is present (e.g. “X is bigger than Y”), not constructions in which it is contextually omitted (e.g. “X is bigger”), because some languages use a special construction when the standard is omitted.
Sometimes it may be difficult to distinguish comparative markers (which belong to the adjective) from standard markers (which belong to the standard). In such cases, it may be helpful to ask whether the relevant marker would also occur if the standard were absent, cf. Haitian Creole Boukinèt (pli) bèl pase Mari , *Boukinèt (pli) bèl pase. The impossibility of the latter shows that pase is not a comparative marker.
If comparative marking is optional, we regard this as two constructions, so please select both values and indicate the relative importance.
|1||Adjective is marked|| English, French (always used), Haitian |
li pli rich
‘s/he is richer’
|2||Adjective is not marked|| Hebrew (never used); not obligatory: Haitian Boukinèt (pli) bèl pase Mari.|
‘Boukinèt is more beautiful than Mari.’