Comparative constructions of equality in Ossetic

2023. №6, 49-66

Yulia V. Sinitsyna
Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia; Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia;


The study deals with equative (‘Mary is as tall as Peter’) and similative (‘Mary sings like Peter’) constructions in the Iron dialect of Ossetic. I focus on the morphosyntactic and semantic features of constructions with Standard markers -aw and χʷəžзn. The morphosyntactic criteria I am using are the part of speech of the Standard of comparison (Peter) as well as the syntactic position of the Comparee (Mary). As for the semantics, I am looking at the type of the construction — equative, similative, or predicative (She is like her sister) — and at the referential status of the Standard of comparison (specific or generic). With both markers, the Comparee can occupy a rather low syntactic position. The Standard of comparison can also be a non-finite verb form, apart from a noun phrase. The main difference between the two Standard markers is their semantics. The equative case -aw tends to be used in similative constructions and expresses a comparison of manner. The predominance of generic Standards in constructions with -aw can be explained by the scope of comparison. Referring to a predicate, the -aw form modifies an action or attribute, comparing it with another action or attribute. Comparison of the two situations as a whole allows -aw to be combined with specific Standards, which turned out to be less acceptable otherwise. The postposition χʷəžзn can occur both in equative and similative constructions; in addition, it can mark a Standard used as an attribute of the Comparee.

For citation:

Sinitsyna Yu. V. Comparative constructions of equality in Ossetic. Voprosy Jazykoznanija, 2023, 6: 49–66.


The research was supported by the Russian Science Foundation grant No. 22-28-01639.