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The interpretation of adjectival comparatives1

  • Ewan Klein (a1)
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In this paper I shall present a truth conditional semantics for simple adjectival comparatives. The leading idea is that the semantics should hug closely to the surface syntax of the construction and should not depend on postulating degrees or extents as primitive entities. The remainder of this introductory section will raise some objections to existing accounts of the semantics of comparative constructions. In Section 2 it will be argued that an adequate analysis of compared adjectives must take into account the vagueness of positive adjectives, and that the latter can be captured by interpreting degree adjectives as partial functions. Section 3 contains an analysis of degree modifiers, and in Section 4 this analysis provides the basis for the interpretation of comparatives. Section 5 spells out some consequences of the theory, while the last section contains a summary and conclusion.

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