42 Comparative standard marking

This feature is described more fully in chapter 42.


In this feature (based on WALS feature 212, by Leon Stassen), we consider the marking of the standard in comparative constructions. In a construction such as English John is taller than Peter, the standard is the entity Y (Peter) to which the topic X (John) is compared, marked by the particle than in English (see also Feature 41, “Comparative Adjective Marking”).

Here we consider only comparative constructions involving adjectives. (We use adjective in a semantic sense, as in Feature 3, ”Order of adjective and noun”, to refer to words denoting gradable property concepts.)

The standard markers are classified by the salient other meanings that they have in addition to that of marking the standard. Surpass markers also occur as (or are closely related to) a verb meaning ‘surpass’ or ‘exceed’. Locational markers have a locational sense (ablative, allative, locative), or a dative sense. Particle markers are specialized for standard marking, or at least have no ‘surpass’ or locational meaning (English than and French que belong here). Primary surpass marking refers to constructions such as 'John surpasses Peter in tallness', while secondary surpass marking refers to constructions such as 'John is tall, surpassing Peter'. In conjoined constructions, there are two separate predications ('John is tall, Peter is short').


Susanne Maria Michaelis and the APiCS Consortium


Primary surpass marking055
Secondary surpass marking72027
Locational marking6713
Particle marking222143
Locational plus particle marking246
Standard is not overtly marked156
Conjoined marking257

Language Value % Lexifier Details Source
Id Primary text Analyzed text Gloss Translation Type Language Audio Details