Percentages, Relational Degrees, and Degree Constructions

Adam Gobeski, Marcin Morzycki


Comparatives and equatives are usually assumed to differ only in that comparatives require that one degree be greater than another, while equatives require that it be at least as great. Unexpectedly, though, the interpretation of percentage measure phrases differs fundamentally between the constructions. This curious asymmetry is, we suggest, revealing. It demonstrates that comparatives and equatives are not as similar as one might have thought. We propose an analysis of these facts in which the interpretation of percentage phrases follows straightforwardly from standard assumptions enriched with two additional ones: that percentage phrases denote ‘relational degrees’ (type <d,d>) and that the equative morpheme is uninterpreted. 

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