Keywords: Degree Scales: Positive, Comparative, Superlative Inflectional Types of Comparison Analytic Types of Comparison Syntactic Types of Comparison Lexical Types of Comparison Mixed Types of Comparison, Degree Scales as Cognitive Phenomenon Sprachbund Balkan Area
Cz. nej-: rychlejší, rychleji > nejrychlejší, nejrychleji lepší, lépe > nejlepší, nejlépe.
1. Comparison and Gradation as Categories of Degree Scales: Definitions And some Generative Models
Adjectives determine nouns in their function. There are case, number, and gender categories that the adjective shares with the noun. The functional category that distinguishes adjectives and adverbs from nouns is the increase of a qualitative-relational feature on the Adjective or Adverb (see Holtus 1996: 208). It is called “in the narrower sense a morphological category of adjectives and adverbs for expressing degrees and comparisons” (Bussmann 2002: 395).
That a comparison of different nouns can be promised using this functional category (relative increase of adjectives) as a morpho-syntactic projection above the lexical projection of the Adjective Phrase (AP), call it Degree Phrase (DegP) in Table 1. Thus, an AP-NP situation in which in Czech, the attributive Adjective rychlý ‘fast’ is the sister node of the
Noun vlak ‘train’ as complement of the AP, the phrase is rychlý vlak ‘fast train’ not yet valued for Comparative or Superlative Degree of Comparison.

The following Class gives a comparative approach of syntax, semantics and morphology of Comparatives and Superlatives in Slavic Languages Russian, Polish and Czech.

In general, for all languages, it can be stated that there are four levels of increase today, whereby the existence of the fourth form, the elative, results from the possibility that the comparison as a morphological category may be both absolute and relative. Thus, the relative superlative represents the highest level in relation to other existing bearers of the respective property. Thus, nouns can be related to one another in their properties or adjectives can be relatively compared (‘highest of all’).
In contrast to the relative superlative, the elative represents the highest increment of the adjective to denote a high degree of property without a comparative component. It is therefore also termed absolute superlative and is often referred to in German by adverbial paraphrases, such as, e.g., extreme, highest, enormous, exceedingly, expressed (see Bußmann 2002: 206). Also, in other languages, there are these so-called simple degree adverbs, which “indicate to what extent the property designated by the adjective exists. They do so without reference to a comparison term” (Schwarze 1995: 228).
In addition to the simple degree adverbs, which are used for the absolute increase or for the formation of the elative, there are also comparative degree adverbs in all (Romance) languages.
“They also indicate to what extent the property indicated by the adjective exists. In contrast to the simple degree adverbs, they do so with reference to a comparison term” (Schwarze 1995: 229).
The basis of the relative increase is the comparison. The comparison object can be one or more beings (comparative), or the totality of all comparable beings (superlative). In the comparative case, the comparison object is called or it is recognizable from the context in the superlative, it can only be thought (Gamillscheg 1957: 49).
Within the classification of absolute and relative enhancement, it must also be mentioned that the comparative, defined by Lausberg as “a comparison level expressing comparatively greater intensity of the property,” is a relative comparative, “since there is a comparison of several properties with respect to the same property” (Lausberg 1967–1972: 83f.). Lausberg also points out that the comparative in classical Latin was also used only to generally express “a degree of property that is in any case below the elative” (Lausberg 1967–1972: 85). Thus, if this expresses only a relation to the elative, this implies that the comparative is not necessarily a relative comparative that would necessarily presuppose the existence of an (imaginary) object of comparison (tertium comparationis). It is rather the case that the use of the comparative in this case gets a restraining-weakening meaning (i.e. rather) through the imaginary opposition to the elative. The comparative may then fall to a positive or even a weaker degree than the positive.
Besides the derivation of comparatives and superlatives modulo head-to-head movement, the degree grades can be also expressed in relation to a Phrase or a Clause. The phrasal type is represented in (8a), whereas the clausal type is represented in (8b) for Czech and in (8c) for Russian.
This is the very productive predicative use where one of the components receive a higher degree than the other, so that there is a relation between two clauses or partial clauses.
In Russian (RG 1980: 562-565 §§ 1342-1350) is described in extensor. The Russian comparative form is typically formed by the suffix -ee (-ej) or -e or -še and, contrary to Czech, these forms are indeclinable, which can be also explained by the fact that they usually are to be found in the predicative position (of a small clause):
(8b) Petr je o dva centimetry vyšší než Erika. (8c) Petr na dva santimetra vyše Ėriki.
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