Äiwoo wâtu and the typology of comparatives
This paper examines a comparative construction in the Oceanic language Äiwoo and argues that it differs from those known in the typological literature on comparatives on two counts. It is similar to a so-called ‘exceed’ comparative in involving a morpheme meaning ‘go far’; but unlike canonical exceed comparatives, the construction is intransitive, and the standard of comparison is expressed as an oblique. Moreover, the standard is indicated not only by this oblique phrase but also by a directional marker on the verb, in an extension of the frequent use of directionals in Äiwoo to indicate peripheral participants. This construction thus, on the one hand, expands the established typology of comparative constructions; and on the other, shows that the use of directional morphemes to indicate peripheral participants, otherwise attested e.g. for recipients of give verbs, may extend to the standard in comparative constructions, pointing to an avenue for further typological exploration.
Keywords: comparatives, typology, Oceanic, directionals
Published online: 14 December 2020
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