The wikipedia page on Milewski Typology gives 6 divisions:

Milewski proposed a division of languages into 6 groups, based upon consideration of 4 main syntactic relationships; these were:

  • the relationship of the experiencer to the verb
  • the relationship of the agent to the verb
  • the relationship of the patient to the verb
  • the relationship of the nominal attribute or predicate to the noun.

I understand the words experiencer, agent, and patient from their plain English meaning, and a little research, but I'm struggling to ascertain what is meant by nominal attribute or predicate.

The wikipedia pages on nominal and predicate aren't helping me in the context of this typology.

It feels like understanding this difference is key in understanding the typology, because that seems to be the only thing that differentiates between say types 1, 3, and 5.

Part of the way I've been able to understand these are with examples, but I haven't found any for nominal attributes; they would be helpful here.

1 Answer 1


"Attribute" and "predicate", when used in the same context, generally refer to two different syntactic ways of applying modifiers to a noun. "The white cat" is an attribute, while "the cat is white" is a predicate. (In English, predicative modifiers tend to look like the objects of verbs, but other languages often show a distinction: in Latin, for example, predicative modifiers take the "default" case instead of being marked as objects.)

I believe the word "nominal" hear means that the attribute/predicate is modifying a noun, not that it is a noun, because nouns are very rarely used as attributes. But I can't understand enough Polish to check the original source.

  • Ah, so in the table that includes C, those have an entirely different marker thank agent/patient/experiencer. E.g. the marker on 'cat' in "The white cat" vs. "the cat is white" Commented Feb 15, 2021 at 16:16

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