Grading similarity

Autor(en): Umbach, C.
Gust, H.
Stichwörter: Dimensions of comparison; Direct reference; Gradability; Sameness; Similarity
Erscheinungsdatum: 2021
Herausgeber: Springer Nature
Enthalten in: Language, Cognition, and Mind
Band: 7
Startseite: 365
Seitenende: 386
There are numerous words across languages expressing similarity or indistinguishability. In this paper, three types of similarity expressions in German and English are compared—ähnlich/similar, so/such, and gleich/same. They differ in a number of respects, one of them being gradability: While ähnlich/similar are gradable, so/such as well as gleich/same are not. The analysis in this paper starts from the analysis of German so as a demonstrative expressing similarity (instead of identity) to its demonstration target (Umbach and Gust 2014). It is suggested that the meaning of the three types of similarity expressions is based on a common similarity relation, while differences in meaning are provided by constraints referring to the selection of dimensions of comparison and preconditions of usage. The focus of the paper is on gradability and on the question of what it means for a pair of items to be more similar than another pair. An analysis in the spirit of Klein (1980) is presented accounting for the fact that ähnlich/similar are gradable while neither so/such nor gleich/same are. The formal framework makes use of representations based on attribute spaces and classifiers, where representations may be of different granularity. © The Author(s) 2021.
ISSN: 23644109
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-50200-3_17
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