"Was für ein Mann..."?

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
Another question, this one from the chapter on comparative adjectives. Among the exercises were these two sentences:

1. Es ersaufen mehr Leute im Wein als im Rhein.
2. Es gibt mehr alte Weintrinker als alte Ärzte.

I don't understand why mehr doesn't have adjectival endings here.

Thanks!
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
Actually, Duden considers it an indefinite pronoun or an indefinite numeral ... but like other numerals, it doesn't decline.
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
mehr is an adverb.
I had considered that, but my book listed it under adjectives, and also it doesn't seem to make as much sense here adverbially.

"More people drown in wine than in the Rhine" -> this seems normal.
"People drown more (often) in wine than in the Rhine" -> this seems a bit odd.
"There are more old winedrinkers than old doctors" -> again, normal.
"There are old winedrinkers more often than old doctors" -> this would be very odd in English.

Also, can mehr ever be an adjective, or is it only an adverb?
 

Bitmap

Civis Illustris
"People drown more (often) in wine than in the Rhine" -> this seems a bit odd.
True ... that would also be "Es ersaufen Leute mehr im Wein als im Rhein" in German :p

"There are old winedrinkers more often than old doctors" -> this would be very odd in English.

Also true, and there wouldn't be a way to express that in German, either :p
 
The was für construction is maybe a little odd on the face of it, but shouldn't be so foreign to us Latingesprechengemenschenundfrauernheit.
Generally speaking, as far as Indo-European is concerned, interrogative words have highest priority in an utterance, apart from a vocative (of which it may be said truly: 'it has no grammatical bearing on the sentence'). This is still the case in English, unless you're aiming for a certain affectation ("(And) You're doing what, chastising me?!") So, a preposition or similar particle is bound to become 'post-positive' (τίς τ' ἄρ σφωε θεῶν... quem penes est uirtus).

In the case of German, this syntagm became a(n indeclinable) determinative, so that it may even itself be modified by a preposition:

Mit was für einer Person haben Sie gesprochen? (example taken from my German grammar book).
It is also not uncommon for the neuter form to become indeclinable in predicative use (cf. colloquial Russian: Что такое эти звери? 'What kind of animals are these?')
 
Top