The Grammar of Russian Metalinguistic Comparatives
The paper studies Russian metalinguistic comparatives. Specifically, it argues that Russian exhibits three single meta-comparatives (skoree ‘sooner’, bol′še ‘more’, and lučše ‘better’, lit.), which are derived as a result of grammaticalisation of corresponding standard comparatives and three double meta-comparatives (skoree bol′še, bol′še skoree, and skoree lučše). From a morphological and syntactic point of view, these meta-comparatives are quite distinct from standard comparatives. Unlike standard comparatives, they have only synthetic forms, are ungrammatical with Genitive and show prosodic restrictions and linearly syntactic preferences. Moreover, the metacomparatives are divided into two major groups: skoree, bol′še, skoree bol′še, bol′še skoree vs. lučše, skoree lučše. Each of these two groups imposes specific restrictions on a syntactic category and/or grammatical form of the two compared phrases. Last but not least, due to a relatively free combination of skoree with other single meta-comparatives, which results in double metacomparatives, the paper reveals that skoree is the most grammaticalised metacomparative in Russian.