Watanabe, Ayano and Yoko Iyeiri. 2020. “Explaining the Variability of Adjective Comparatives and Superlatives: Entering the Twenty-first Century”. Word 66(2): 71-97.
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Comparative and Superlative Forms of Disyllabic Adjectives
This is a collaborative work with Ayano Watanabe. We discuss in this paper the classical theme of adjective comparatives and superlatives, but with renewed data from the 21st century. Most previous studies in this field are based on the British National Corpus (20th-century data). We analyze the disyllabic adjectives ample, bitter, common, complete, costly, deadly, empty, friendly, kindly, likely, obscure, remote, robust, severe, simple, sober, wealthy, and explore the relationship between their choice of comparative forms and phonological, syntactical, and stylistic factors. We also discuss their superlative forms, which are less frequently dealt with in previous studies than comparative forms. This article concludes that different adjectives show different tendencies in the choice of comparative and superlative forms. It also shows that differences are often observed between the comparative and superlative choices.