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Aspects of comparative constructions: Comparative syntax, semantics & L1-acquisition

Makri, Maria-Margarita (2018) Aspects of comparative constructions: Comparative syntax, semantics & L1-acquisition. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the crosslinguistic variation and acquisition of comparative constructions and proposes a fine-grained AP periphery along with an analysis of comparatives as constructions involving subtraction. More specifically, it is proposed that gradable predicates incorporate a Quantifier head and that comparative morphology is realised in two distinct heads above the Q-head: the higher C-head assigns case to the differential argument whereas the lower one, which is immediately above the Q-head checks the case of the standard phrase. Furthermore, I provide novel evidence for two types of comparative markers, a 'functional' one, which is the realisation of C2 if the gradable predicate does not move to C2, and a 'lexical' one, which is the comparative form of the quantity word that adjoins to a positive adjective. This analysis explains morphological facts as well as variation in case assignment in Greek varieties. As far as standard phrases are concerned I propose that there are three distinct types of standard phrases: adjunct standard phrases introduced by the phrasal standard marker, argument standard phrases comprised of the phrasal standard marker and a nominal (DP or relative clause) and exceptive phrases. Furthermore, the study of the distribution of polarity items and comparative negation in Romance comparatives as well as the acquisition of Italian comparatives suggest that negation found in comparatives is an overt realisation of the negative operator. This analysis explains a (universal) gap in the distribution of comparative negation, namely the unavailability of languages that license comparative negation but not polarity items.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Comparative constructions, Comparatives, Degree constructions, Exceptive Phrases, Relative Clauses, Greek, Italian, French, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Romance languages, micro-variation, Case, Expletive Negation, Negation, Polarity, Comparative Syntax Semantics First Language Acquisition Typology
Academic Units: The University of York > Language and Linguistic Science (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.759947
Depositing User: Ms Maria-Margarita Makri
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2018 16:31
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2020 13:04
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/22214

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