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The Meaning of More$
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Alexis Wellwood

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198804659

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198804659.001.0001

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Measuring states

Measuring states

(p.61) 4 Measuring states
The Meaning of More

Alexis Wellwood

Oxford University Press

This chapter extends the theory developed in the previous chapter in which an expression like “much” (implicitly as part of “more”, explicitly as part of phrases like “too much” when combined with nouns and verbs) uniformly introduces measure functions into the compositional semantics of comparatives. The present focus is on adjectival comparatives, which are typically analyzed as involving lexical specification of measures by the adjectival target. Exploring both novel and familiar data, drawn from the morphosyntactic and semantic literatures, this chapter suggests that the balance of evidence diagnoses the relevance of order-theoretic properties at the lexical level rather than the presence of lexically-specified measures. The positive proposal offered is that adjectives express properties of states, and the distinction between gradable and non-gradable is on a par with that between mass and count nouns: the former introduce non-trivial ordering relations while the latter do not.

Keywords:   adjectival comparative, adverbial comparative, intensive vs extensive measurement, indeterminacy, context-dependence, incommensurability, state, event semantics

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