Adjective Classes: A Cross-Linguistic Typology by R. M. W. Dixon, Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

By R. M. W. Dixon, Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

The stories during this quantity recommend that each language has an adjective type, yet those differ in personality and in dimension. In its grammatical homes, an adjective classification might beas just like nouns, or to verbs, or to either, or to neither.ze. while in a few languages the adjective category is huge and will be freely further to, in others it truly is small and closed. with only a dozen or so participants. The booklet will curiosity students and complicated scholars of language typology and of the syntax and semantics of adjectives.

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Sample text

The modern discipline of linguistics has been centred on the study of European languages, and is generally undertaken by speakers of European languages. ). This has undoubtedly played a role in the failure to recognize an adjective class for languages in which adjectives show a rather different profile, functioning as head of an intransitive predicate (rather than as copula complement), and having some of the same morphological properties as verbs. There is an oft-repeated tradition of saying that in Chinese 'all adjectives are verbs' (see, among many others, Hockett 1958: 223, Lyons 1968:324-5, Li and Thompson 1981:141, Schachter 1985:18).

Other criteria need to be brought in to deal with words like jaja, bimu, wugija, andjilbay. In some languages only some adjectives may take gender or noun class marking. This applies in Swahili, where the adjective class has two sub-classes. One subclass consists of about fifty native roots which take the concordial prefix of the noun they modify; the other sub-class involves a score or so of borrowed adjectives (mostly from Arabic) which do not take the prefixes. However, the sub-classes are linked by all their members sharing other grammatical properties.

However, there is a handful of 'hybrid' nouns that can take either masculine or feminine markers; these include bayi/balan jaja 'male/female baby' and bayi/balan bimu 'father's older brother/sister'. And while adjectives such as midi 'small' can modify any noun, there are adjectives which—by virtue of their meaning—may only modify a noun which has human reference; for example, wugija generous, always sharing things' andjilbay 'experienced/expert at some task'. There are thus a few nouns which can occur with either masculine or feminine noun marker, and a few adjectives which are restricted to masculine and feminine markers.

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