We present an investigation of the ways in which speakers' subjective perspectives are likely to affect the meaning of gradable adjectives like tall or heavy. We present the results of a study showing that people tend to use themselves as a yardstick when ascribing these adjectives to human figures of varied measurements: subjects' height and weight requirements for applying tall and heavy are found to be positively correlated with their personal measurements. We draw more general lessons regarding the definition of subjectivity and the ways in which a standard of comparison and a significant deviation from that standard are specified.

categorization, egocentrism, ideals, threshold theory, vagueness
dx.doi.org/10.1111/mila.12184, hdl.handle.net/1765/125385
Mind & Language
Department of Psychology

Verheyen, S, Dewil, S., & Égré, P. (2018). Subjectivity in gradable adjectives: The case of tall and heavy. Mind & Language, 33, 460–479. doi:10.1111/mila.12184