On degree minimizers in Spanish


  • Isabel Pérez-Jiménez Universidad de Alcalá
  • Silvia Gumiel-Molina Universidad de Alcalá
  • Norberto Moreno-Quibén Universidad de Alcalá




degree modiifier, minimizer, coercion, copular verb, copulae, comparison class, granularity, gradable adjective


The goal of this paper is to provide both a description and an explanation of the combination of minimizers (ligeramente 'slightly') with gradable adjectives in Spanish. According to Kennedy & McNally (2005) these elements are degree items that are sensitive to the scalar structure of adjectives and are combined with closed scale, minimum standard adjectives. Unexpected combinations, according to this semantics, are considered as cases of coercion. In this paper we propose that minimizers create derived adjectives. They are modifiers of the adjective's granularity, which allow the selection of the standard of comparison to take into account a greater number of degree distinctions. From this proposal, this article shows that unexpected combinations of ligeramente with gradable adjectives, such as un cine ligeramente lleno ‘a slightly crowded cinema’, can be explained without the need to propose that a coercion process takes place.


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How to Cite

Pérez-Jiménez, I., Gumiel-Molina, S., & Moreno-Quibén, N. (2020). On degree minimizers in Spanish. Borealis – An International Journal of Hispanic Linguistics, 9(1), 69–86. https://doi.org/10.7557/