Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Comparatives in Melanesia: Concentric circles of convergence

Abstract : Using a sample of 116 languages, this article investigates the typology of comparative constructions and their distribution in Melanesia, one of the world's least-understood linguistic areas. We present a rigorous definition of a comparative construction as a "comparative concept", thereby excluding many constructions which have been considered functionally comparatives in Melanesia. Conjoined comparatives are shown to dominate at the core of the area on the island of New Guinea, while (monoclausal) exceed comparatives are found in the maritime regions around New Guinea. Outside of Melanesia adposi-tional and other comparative constructions including particle comparatives are most frequent in Austronesian languages. The unity of the conjoined comparative type in the core Melanesian area illustrates that, while morpho-syntactic profiles of Melanesian languages are heterogenous, significant convergence in the "ways of saying things" can be found across the region. Additionally, we find no cases of clause chaining constructions being used for encoding com-paratives, even in canonical clause chaining languages of central New Guinea. Our findings thus offer no support for Stassen's claim of a correlation between temporal chaining type and comparative construction type. Instead we suggest that an areal preference for mini-clauses may explain the dominance of the conjoined comparative in Melanesia.
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadata

Cited literature [136 references]  Display  Hide  Download

https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-02931152
Contributor : Alexis Michaud <>
Submitted on : Friday, September 4, 2020 - 9:53:21 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, December 12, 2020 - 3:53:15 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Wednesday, December 2, 2020 - 8:56:39 PM

File

Schapper_deVries2018_Comparati...
Publication funded by an institution

Licence


Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Identifiers

Collections

Citation

Antoinette Schapper, Lourens de Vries. Comparatives in Melanesia: Concentric circles of convergence. Linguistic Typology, De Gruyter, 2018, 22 (3), pp.437-494. ⟨10.1515/lingty-2018-0015⟩. ⟨halshs-02931152⟩

Share

Metrics

Record views

29

Files downloads

96