Volume 45, Issue 4
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This paper examines a comparative construction in the Oceanic language Äiwoo and argues that it differs from those known in the typological literature on comparatives on two counts. It is similar to a so-called ‘’ comparative in involving a morpheme meaning ‘go far’; but unlike canonical comparatives, the construction is intransitive, and the standard of comparison is expressed as an oblique. Moreover, the standard is indicated not only by this oblique phrase but also by a directional marker on the verb, in an extension of the frequent use of directionals in Äiwoo to indicate peripheral participants. This construction thus, on the one hand, expands the established typology of comparative constructions; and on the other, shows that the use of directional morphemes to indicate peripheral participants, otherwise attested e.g. for recipients of verbs, may extend to the standard in comparative constructions, pointing to an avenue for further typological exploration.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y.
    2006 Serial verb constructions in typological perspective. InAlexandra Y. Aikhenvald & Robert M. W. Dixon (eds.), Serial verb constructions: A cross-linguistic typology, 1–68. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Beck, Sigfrid, Daniel Fleischer, Remus Gergel, Stefan Hofstetter, Sveta Krasikova, Christiane Savelsberg, John Vanderelst & Elisabeth Villalta
    2009 Cross-linguistic variation in comparative constructions. Linguistic Variation Yearbook9. 1–66. 10.1075/livy.9.01bec
    https://doi.org/10.1075/livy.9.01bec [Google Scholar]
  3. Besnier, Nico
    2000Tuvaluan. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Bobaljik, Jonathan D.
    2012Universals in comparative morphology: Suppletion, superlatives, and the structure of words. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. 10.7551/mitpress/9069.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.7551/mitpress/9069.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  5. Dixon, Robert M. W.
    1994Ergativity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511611896
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511611896 [Google Scholar]
  6. 2008 Comparative constructions: a cross-linguistic typology. Studies in Language32(4). 787–817. 10.1075/sl.32.4.02dix
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sl.32.4.02dix [Google Scholar]
  7. François, Alexandre
    2004 Reconstructing the geocentric system of Proto-Oceanic. Oceanic Linguistics43(1). 1–31. 10.1353/ol.2004.0009
    https://doi.org/10.1353/ol.2004.0009 [Google Scholar]
  8. Hamel, Patricia J.
    1993 Serial verbs in Loniu and an evolving preposition. Oceanic Linguistics32(1). 111–132. 10.2307/3623099
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3623099 [Google Scholar]
  9. Hanink, Emily
    2020 Explicit comparison in Fijian. InMichael Franke, Nikola Kompa, Mingya Liu, Jutta L. Mueller & Juliane Schwab (eds.), Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 24, vol.1, 256–272. Osnabrück/Berlin: Osnabruck University and Humboldt University of Berlin.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Hohaus, Vera
    2018 How do degrees enter the grammar? Language change in Samoan from [-DSP] to [+DSP]. Proceedings of TripleA 4: Fieldwork perspectives on the semantics of African, Asian and Austronesian languages, 106–120. Available athttps://publikationen.uni-tuebingen.de/xmlui/handle/10900/78334 (last access18 November 2020).
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Lichtenberk, František
    1985 Syntactic-category change in Oceanic languages. Oceanic Linguistics24(1/2). 1–84. 10.2307/3623063
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3623063 [Google Scholar]
  12. Margetts, Anna & Peter K. Austin
    2007 Three-participant events in the languages of the world: Towards a cross-linguistic typology. Linguistics45(3). 393–451. 10.1515/LING.2007.014
    https://doi.org/10.1515/LING.2007.014 [Google Scholar]
  13. Næss, Åshild
    2011 Directional verbs in Vaeakau-Taumako. Oceanic Linguistics50(1). 120–139. 10.1353/ol.2011.0007
    https://doi.org/10.1353/ol.2011.0007 [Google Scholar]
  14. 2018a Standing up to the canoe: Competing cognitive biases in the encoding of stative spatial relations in a language with a single spatial preposition. Cognitive Linguistics29(4). 807–841. 10.1515/cog‑2017‑0096
    https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2017-0096 [Google Scholar]
  15. 2018b Plural-marking strategies in Äiwoo. Oceanic Linguistics57(1). 31–62. 10.1353/ol.2018.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1353/ol.2018.0001 [Google Scholar]
  16. Næss, Åshild, & Even Hovdhaugen
    2011A grammar of Vaeakau-Taumako. Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton. 10.1515/9783110238273
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110238273 [Google Scholar]
  17. Næss, Åshild, & Mathias Jenny
    2011 Who changes language? Bilingualism and structural change in Burma and the Reef Islands. Journal of Language Contact4. 217–249. 10.1163/187740911X589253
    https://doi.org/10.1163/187740911X589253 [Google Scholar]
  18. Rehg, Kenneth L.
    1981Ponapean reference grammar. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. 10.1515/9780824844257
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9780824844257 [Google Scholar]
  19. Ross, Malcolm
    2003 Talking about space. InMalcolm Ross, Andrew Pawley & Meredith Osmond (eds.), The lexicon of Proto Oceanic vol. 2: The physical environment, 221–283. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Ross, Malcolm & Åshild Næss
    2007 An Oceanic origin for Äiwoo, the language of the Reef Islands?Oceanic Linguistics46(2). 456–498. 10.1353/ol.2008.0003
    https://doi.org/10.1353/ol.2008.0003 [Google Scholar]
  21. Roversi, Giovanni
    2019 The morphosyntactic structure of the Äiwoo verb. Oslo: University of OsloMA thesis. Available athttps://www.duo.uio.no/handle/10852/69258 (last access18 November 2020).
  22. Schapper, Antoinette & Lourens de Vries
    2018 Comparatives in Melanesia: Concentric circles of convergence. Linguistic Typology22(3). 437–494. 10.1515/lingty‑2018‑0015
    https://doi.org/10.1515/lingty-2018-0015 [Google Scholar]
  23. Schütz, Albert J.
    1985The Fijian language. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Senft, Gunter
    (ed.) 2004Deixis and demonstratives in Oceanic languages. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Stassen, Leon
    1985Comparison and Universal Grammar. Oxford: Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Stolz, Thomas
    2013Competing comparative constructions in Europe. Berlin: De Gruyter. 10.1524/9783050064994
    https://doi.org/10.1524/9783050064994 [Google Scholar]
  27. van Klinken, Catharina
    1999A grammar of the Fehan dialect of Tetun, an Austronesian language of West Timor. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): comparatives; directionals; Oceanic; typology
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error