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

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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 houses, an adjective category may well beas just like nouns, or to verbs, or to either, or to neither.ze. while in a few languages the adjective classification is huge and will be freely additional to, in others it really is small and closed. with only a dozen or so contributors. The publication will curiosity students and complicated scholars of language typology and of the syntax and semantics of adjectives.

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We find: • A large number of languages whose adjectives are (I) verb-like, and (B) nonnoun-like. • A large number whose adjectives are (II) non-verb-like, and (A) noun-like. • Some languages whose adjectives are both (I) verb-like and (A) noun-like. • Some languages whose adjectives are (II) non-verb-like and (B) non-noun-like. We can now examine, in turn, languages of type (I) and of type (A). 1 deals with languages in which adjectives can fill the intransitive predicate slot and have similar properties to verbs; it surveys the criteria which may serve to distinguish adjectives from verbs in these languages.

This applies in Buriat (Poppe 1960) and in Quechua (Cole 1982:99), among many other languages. 2. Morphological possibilities One of the most useful criteria for distinguishing between nouns and adjectives is gender or noun classes. In Latin, for instance, each noun belongs to just one of the three genders, while an adjective can be in any gender, agreeing with the noun it is modifying. A similar criterion is given by Sokolov (1967: 43) for Avestan and by Fortune (1942: 55-6) for the Papuan language Arapesh; and see the discussion of Russian in Chapter 8.

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.

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