Comparison in Kambaata: Superiority, Equality and Similarity

Abstract : This paper is an in-depth study of the expression of comparison in Kambaata, a Highland East Cushitic language of Ethiopia. It discusses not only quantitative comparison, i.e. comparison of relative and absolute inequality and comparison of equality, but also analyses the morphology and syntax of expressions of qualitative comparison, i.e. comparison of similarity. Apart from predicative constructions, the analysis takes into account attributive comparative, superlative, equative and similative constructions. In the comparative construction (lit. ‘X is tall from Y’), the standard of comparison is marked by the ablative case, as in most languages spoken in the Horn of Africa. Kambaata distinguishes between two superlative constructions, one of which is based on the comparative construction (‘X is tall from all’), while the other is characterised by a locative standard of comparison (‘X is tall among Y’). Furthermore, Kambaata has two equative constructions. The first is based on the similative construction (‘X is tall like Y’); the second is a periphrastic construction (‘X is tall to the extent Y’). The paper also argues that the enclitic morpheme which marks the standard of comparison in the similative construction originates from a noun meaning ‘manner’.
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Yvonne Treis. Comparison in Kambaata: Superiority, Equality and Similarity. Linguistic Discovery, Dartmouth College Library, 2018, On the expression of comparison: Contributions to the typology of comparative constructions from lesser-known languages (guest editors: Yvonne Treis & Katarzyna I. Wojtylak), 16 (1), pp.64-99. ⟨hal-01350812v3⟩

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