Expressing equality and similarity in English, Italian, and Ladin: Interlingual contrastive features and micro-variation


  • Martina Irsara Free University of Bozen-Bolzano



comparatives, equatives, similatives, Ladin, Italian, English as and like


Rather exceptionally among European languages, English has two standard markers, namely as and like, which make a formal distinction between equative and similative constructions. It is well known that clauses with as and phrasal adjuncts with like tend to be carefully distinguished in British formal usage. The present article uses English as a hallmark for the identification of relevant semantic distinctions within the field of equality and similarity comparison in the Ladin variety spoken in the South-Tyrolean valley of Badia, which forms part of the Rhaeto-Romance territory of Italy, and which is still under-researched in many domains. This article intends to contribute to the current discussion on quantitative and qualitative comparison by providing novel information on Ladin, which has not been an object of investigation with respect to comparative constructions. The comparative system of Ladin is illustrated from a cross-linguistic perspective, drawing comparisons with English and Italian, with which it has much in common, but from which it also differs in a number of respects. The article also shows how the Ladin system varies at a micro-level within one valley. While the vernacular in the lower part of the valley has markers that distinguish between clausal and phrasal complements, the linguistic variety in the upper part of the valley makes no such distinction. Despite highlighting cross-linguistic differences, this study serves as a further confirmation of typological tendencies.


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How to Cite

Irsara M. Expressing equality and similarity in English, Italian, and Ladin: Interlingual contrastive features and micro-variation. LTC [Internet]. 2021Jan.1 [cited 2024Mar.1];1(1):47-93. Available from: