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Negative polarity
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The comparative adjective is able to license negative polarity items in its comparative complement.

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The comparative adjective is able to license negative polarity items in its comparative complement. In the examples below, the comparative adjective licenses the negatively polar verb hoegeneed. As the adjectives involved do not themselves license negative polarity items, it may be concluded that it is the comparative element, -er or mearmore, which take care of this:

Example 1

a. Dat de nederlaech grutter wurden wie as hoegd hie
that the defeat bigger become was than needed had
That the defeat became bigger than necessary
b. De man spriek fen syn swolch reinwetter mear as hoegde
the man spoke of his draught rain.water more than needed
The man spoke more than needed of his sip of rainwater

The negative polarity item eaever can also be found in the comparative complement:

Example 2

a. Se rekke makliker as ea mei minsken yn 'e kunde
she got easier than ever with people into contact
She got into contact with people more easily than ever
b. Dy middeis ferkocht er minder as ea it gefal west hie
that afternoon sold he less than ever the case been had
That afternoon he sold less than had ever been the case

In the last two examples, where the comparative complement is a proposition, it is also possible to put the complementiser datthat in between asthan and eaever, as shown in the examples below:

Example 3

a. Dy middeis ferkocht er minder as dat ea it gefal west hie
that afternoon sold he less than that ever the case been had
That afternoon he sold less than had ever been the case
b. Alles is moaijer en grutter as dat ea minskemûle seit
everything is more beautiful and bigger than that ever people.mouth says
Everything is more beautiful and bigger than a human being could ever say

The negatively polar adverb eaever has been placed before the subject in the above examples. Placement after the subject, which would otherwise be quite normal for adverbs, is awkward:

Example 4

a. ?Dy middeis ferkocht er minder as it gefal ea west hie
that afternoon sold he less than the case ever been had
That afternoon he sold less than had ever been the case
b. ?Alles is moaijer en grutter as minskemûle ea seit
everything is more beautiful and bigger than people.mouth ever says
Everything is more beautiful and bigger than a human being could ever say

The comparative not only licenses negative polarity in its comparative complement, but it also licenses negative polarity on its modifiers, seeing that the negative polarity item follemuch, very is grammatical in the modifier position of comparatives:

Example 5

folle dúdliker
much clearer

In contrast: the negative polarity item follemuch, very cannot be licensed by the partitive adjective construction:

Example 6

*Ik ha folle dúdlik-s heard
I have much clear.PA heard
I have heard many clear things

Negation must be present to license follemuch, very in the partitive adjective construction:

Example 7

Ik ha net folle dúdlik-s heard
I have not much clear.PA heard
I have not heard many clear things

Follemuch, very can usually be replaced by a Noun Phrase (NP) which is not negatively polar and which consists of the indefinite article and a noun denoting a large quantity:

Example 8

a. Ik ha in protte dúdlik-s heard
I have a lot clear.PA heard
I have heard a lot of clear things
b. Ik ha net in protte dúdlik-s heard
I have not a lot clear.PA heard
I have not heard a lot of clear things

Such a replacement is, however, not possible when follemuch, very modifies a comparative, as shown in the examples below:

Example 9

a. Dat is folle dúdliker
that is much clearer
that is much clearer
b. *Dat is in protte dúdliker
that is a lot clearer
that is a lot clearer

Not all negative polarity items which occur in the complement of the comparative can occur in the scope of a superlative. Like ordinary comparatives, the inherent comparative oar / oarsdifferent, else, licenses negative polarity in its comparative phrase:

Example 10

Hy prate flugger en oars as hoegde
he talked faster and different than needed
He talked faster and different than he needed to

Unlike ordinary comparatives, the inherent comparative oar/oars does not license the negative polarity item follemuch, very in its modifier position:

Example 11

a. Folle flugger
Much faster
b. *Folle oars
Greatly different

However, phrases such as folle oarsgreatly different were grammatical in nineteenth-century Frisian. In Modern Frisian, negation must be present, as below:

Example 12

Net folle oars
not much different
Not very different

[show extra information]
x Literature

More details can be found in Hoekstra (2000).

References:
  • Hoekstra, Jarich2000Sa en net oars of: waar vergelijking en ontkenning elkaar ontmoetenBesten, Hans den, Elffers, Els & Luif, Jan (eds.)Samengevoegde woorden: voor Wim Klooster bij zijn afscheid als hoogleraarUniversiteit van Amsterdam135-144
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