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Two Kinds of Degree-denoting Relatives: Hebrew versus Romanian

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This paper conducts a contrastive study of Hebrew and Romanian, with supporting data from additional languages, which pursues both descriptive and theoretical goals. On the descriptive level, it draws attention to a hitherto unnoticed and unanalyzed construction that has so far been detected in Romanian and Albanian only, and which although superficially similar to a kind of degree-denoting relative construction that is widely attested cross-linguistically (and thus, in both Hebrew and Romanian), nonetheless differs from it in subtle semantic and pragmatic ways, as well as in a more restricted range of expressive options. Observationally, the rare construction differs from the more common one in lacking the definite determiner that characterizes the latter, and is labeled for this reason 'B(are) D(egree-denoting) R(elative) C(lause) C(onstruction).' On the theoretical level, this paper offers explicit compositional semantic analyses of the two constructions, which hopefully capture both the similarities and the differences between them. The constructions are examined against the background of an up-dated variety of the typology of RCCs proposed in Grosu & Landman (1998).

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