Chapter published in:Similative and Equative Constructions: A cross-linguistic perspective
Edited by Yvonne Treis and Martine Vanhove
[Typological Studies in Language 117] 2017
► pp. 9–32
Chapter 1Equative constructions in world-wide perspective
In this paper, we report on a world-wide study of equative constructions (‘A is as big as B’) in a convenience sample of 119 languages. From earlier work, it has been known that European languages often have equative constructions based on adverbial relative pronouns that otherwise express degree or manner (‘how’, ‘as’), but we find that this type is rare outside Europe. We divide the constructions that we found into six primary types, four of which have closely corresponding types of comparative constructions (‘A is bigger than B’). An equative construction often consists of five components: a comparee (‘A’), a degree-marker (‘as’), a parameter (‘is big’), a standard-marker (‘as’), and a standard (‘B’).Most frequently, the parameter is the main predicate and the equative sense is expressed by a special standard-marker. But many languages also have a degree-marker, so that we get a construction of the English and French type. Another possibility is for the equality sense to be expressed by a transitive ‘equal’ (or ‘reach’) verb, which may be the main predicate or a secondary predicate. And finally, since the equative construction is semantically symmetrical, it is also possible to “unify” the parameter and the standard in the subject position (‘A and B are equally tall’, or ‘A and B are equal in height’). But no language has only a degree-marker, leaving the standard unmarked. Finally, we note some word order correlations.
Keywords: equative construction, comparative construction, language typology, areal typology, word order correlation
- 1.Introduction: Equative constructions
- 2.European similatives and equatives based on manner words
3.The primary types of equative constructions
- 3.1Type 1: Only equative standard-marker
- 3.2Type 2: Equative degree-marker and standard-marker
- 3.3Type 3: Equative degree-marker unified
- 3.4Type 4: Primary reach equative
- 3.5Type 5: Primary reach equative unified
- 3.6Type 6: Secondary reach equative
- 4.Comparing equative and comparative constructions
- 5.Examples of the primary types
- 5.1Type 1: Only equative standard-marker
- 5.2Type 2: Equative degree-marker and standard-marker
- 5.3Type 3: Equative degree-marker unified
- 5.4Type 4: Primary reach equative
- 5.5Type 5: Primary reach equative unified
- 5.6Type 6: Secondary reach equative
- 6.Other ways of expressing identity of degree
- 7.No general equative construction
- 8.1A missing pattern
- Generalization 1.
8.2Word order in equative constructions
- Generalization 2.
- Generalization 3.
- 8.1A missing pattern
Published online: 31 May 2017
Andersen, Paul Kent
Bobaljik, Jonathan David
Crane, Thera M., Hyman, Larry M. & Nsielanga Tukumu, Simon
Dhongde, Ramesh Vaman & Wali, Kashi
Frajzyngier, Zygmunt & Johnston, Eric
Goddard, Cliff & Wierzbicka, Anna
Greenberg, Joseph H.
Haspelmath, Martin & Buchholz, Oda
Kari, Ethelbert E.
Kung, Susan Smythe
Li, Charles N. & Thompson, Sandra A.
Nikolaeva, Irina & Tolskaya, Maria
Popjes, Jack & Popjes, Jo
Quesada, Juan Diego
2005 Comparative constructions. In The World Atlas of Language Structures, Martin Haspelmath, Matthew S. Dryer, David Gil & Bernard Comrie (eds.), 490–493. Oxford: OUP. Also in WALS Online: http://wals.info/feature/118
Wang, Peter, Hunt, Robert, McGriff, Jeff & Elkins, Richard E.
Cited by 7 other publications
Hohaus, Vera & M. Ryan Bochnak
Hohaus, Vera & Malte Zimmermann
König, Ekkehard & Letizia Vezzosi
Zhang, Niina Ning
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 30 march 2022. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.