NameLi, Xiao (author), Schwarzschild, Roger (chair), Baker, Mark (internal member), Shan, Chung-chieh (internal member), Kennedy, Chris (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
DescriptionThis dissertation is a study of two non-adjectival comparatives in Chinese and Japanese, namely Chinese Differential Verbal Comparatives and Japanese sugi-constructions. By examining these two comparative constructions, this work motivates and develops an analysis that does not reply on degrees and scales, but is based on bijections. A bijection is a function f from set A to set B with the property that every member of A is paired with exactly one member of B, and vice versa.
Chapter 1 describes the background for the bijective analysis. Chapter 2 introduces Chinese Differential Verbal Comparatives (DVCs) and compares them with Chinese adjectival comparatives. Differentials of adjectival comparatives are distinct from those of DVCs in that the former are degree-denoting measure phrases, but the latter are not. Based on this fact, I argue that DVCs and adjectival comparatives are semantically distinct. DVCs denote a comparison of two sets of individuals and events based on bijections; adjectival comparatives describe an ordering relation of two degrees. (Differentials are expressions which describe the difference between two sets in comparison. For example, in the comparative John is 3 inches taller than Mary, the measure phrase 3 inches is a differential)
Chapter 3 provides another comparative construction which does not reply on degrees and scales for comparisons-- Japanese sugi-constructions. In sugi-constructions, differentials correspond to Floating Numeral Quantifiers (FNQs), which are VP-adverbs that quantify over sets of individuals. I argue that sugi- is an intensional operator, which compares world w to the closest possible world w' to w where the relevant requirements are met. As such, this account follows the possible world analysis of Stalnaker (1968, 1984). Given that in our analysis sugi- is not restricted to comparisons of degrees, FNQs can receive a consistent syntactic and semantic analysis in sugi- and non-sugi-constructions.
Chapter 4 unifies the semantics of Japanese sugi- and that of Chinese duo under the notion of bijections. I argue that bijections constitute a more fundamental method of comparison than any degree-based analysis of comparatives, because the former compares entities including individuals, events and degrees, and is able to account for a wider range of data than the latter which only compares degrees. I show that when bijections and the degree-based analyses are both applied to comparisons of degrees, their differences are trivial.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 165-171)
Noteby Xiao Li
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.