A cross-dialectal analysis of Nuosu adjectival comparative constructions

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Current analyses (Hu 2005; Gerner 2013; Liu et al. 2013) of Nuosu adjectival comparative constructions are not observationally adequate because they are only based on the semantic distinction between dimensional adjectives and other adjectives. A better analysis should make a further morphological consideration by dividing the Nuosu adjectives into root-sharing prefixed adjectives, non-root-sharing prefixed adjectives and simplex adjectives. 

Moreover, the existing analyses are not consistent. Some unacceptable comparative sentences in Hu (2005) are acceptable in Gerner (2013) and Liu et al. (2013). I have found out that the inconsistency results from different rigorousness to adjectival morphosyntactic restrictions among different varieties or dialects of Nuosu. Copyright © 2018 John Benjamins Publishing Company.

After a cross-dialectal investigation with three major dialects of Nuosu, i.e. Shynra, Yynuo and Suondi, it is concluded that Nuosu comparative constructions have a restricted form and a general form for superiority, inferiority and equality respectively. Different dialects or varieties have varying rigorousness to Nuosu adjectival morphosyntax, thus resulting in different choices of the forms for comparison. Accordingly, the available Nuosu varieties are classified into three types: varieties with more morphosyntactic rigorousness, transitional varieties and varieties with less morphosyntactic rigorousness. It is found that Shynra Nuosu is morphosyntactically less rigorous than Yynuo and Suondi Nuosu. I will also address the relationship between the two structural forms of comparative constructions. To conclude, a prediction is made on the development of Nuosu adjectival comparatives. Copyright © 2018 John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-74
JournalLinguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


Ding, H. (2018). A cross-dialectal analysis of Nuosu adjectival comparative constructions. Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area, 41(1), 45-74. doi: 10.1075/ltba.16023.din


  • Adjectival comparative constructions
  • Cross-dialectal
  • Morphosyntax
  • Nuosu


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