How to be positive



Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Recent literature has seen the rise of interest in *ABA patterns. These constrain form identity between three (or more) categories. For instance, Bobaljik (2012) observes that in the triplet positive–comparative–superlative (pos–cmpr–sprl), pos and sprl are never the same to the exclusion of cmpr. Bobaljik (and much related work) interprets these patterns in terms of structural containment: if the structure of sprl properly contains cmpr, and if cmpr contains pos, *ABA follows. However, Bobaljik and Sauerland (2018) argue that there are more ways to derive *ABA patterns, and that a careful study of containment patterns is crucial. Our paper revisits Bobaljik’s original case for containment (adjectival degree morphology), and suggests that a more symmetric view on the relationship between pos and cmpr is needed, crucially without giving up the possibility of deriving *ABA.
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