11 votes

Why do adjectives come before nouns in English?

The short answer to why we say "a tall tree" and not "a tree tall" is that we learned this pattern from listening to other people speaking; and those people got their rules from their elders, and so ...
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10 votes

Why in most (all?) languages don't adjectives have gender independently of the nouns they modify?

The Beti-Fang subgroup of languages of Cameroon (and I suspect other related Bantu languages) have this property. Example languages are Ewondo, Fang, Ntumu, Bulu. Like most Bantu languages, there is a ...
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8 votes

Why do adjectives come before nouns in English?

It's perhaps not entirely accurate to say 'most languages'. In several Indo-European languages, the adjective comes before the noun too. E.g. in Russian - 'белая машина' is 'white car', but the other ...
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7 votes
Accepted

What is it called when one "conjugates" adjectives?

As curiousdannii said, it's a type of inflection. In Latin, adjectives were traditionally classified as nouns (nomina; specifically nomina adjectiva); the nouns that weren't adjectives were called "...
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7 votes

Why do adjectives come before nouns in English?

"Why" is always a difficult question to answer in linguistics. Sometimes, the best we can say is "it's just the way things are": in some languages (English, Russian, Ancient Greek, Hittite, Japanese), ...
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6 votes

How is the the adjective in a definite noun phrase different from a nondefinite one in Germanic and Balto-Slavic languages?

The adjective systems in Balto-Slavic and German languages are similar only from a very broad typological and historical point of view. Most Slavic languages — I can speak about Russian, but it must ...
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6 votes

What really makes adverbs different from adjectives?

If we step off linguistic terminology to some philosophy, everything becomes more straightforward. Adjectives define properties of "things"; Adverbs define properties of "relations". TL;DR Human ...
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  • 8,530
6 votes

Different types of color adjectives

Much like Japanese, Swahili/Kiswahili has two classes of adjectives: the closed class of inflecting adjectives, and the open class of non-inflecting adjectives. In the closed/inflecting class, there ...
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5 votes
Accepted

Why in most (all?) languages don't adjectives have gender independently of the nouns they modify?

The reason that where adjectives have gender it agrees with the gender of their noun is typically that the gendered adjectival form is made by merging the adjectival stem with a gendered demonstrative ...
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5 votes

Stolen, part of speech

As Greg Lee indicates, participles are commonly considered to remain verbs, despite being used "like adjectives" in many cases. However, the situation is a bit confusing because, as far as I know, ...
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5 votes
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Adjective position in Provençal (Occitan)

I'll do you one better and answer both for Provençal and Lengadocian! I know a group of Occitan speakers online and decided to ask them about it. The general explanation for this irregularity really ...
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5 votes
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Pronominalized adjectives in Lithuanian

A native speaker here. They are definitely not rare, one can treat them as commonplace. And not just adjectives, but also pronominalized participles and pronouns. But they are also not as frequently ...
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5 votes
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Did Proto-Indo-European put the adjective before or behind the noun?

Here are some reconstructed phrases in PIE. It seems, the adjective could go both before and after the noun. Examples: Adjective before h₁ōḱéwes h₁éḱwoes "swift horses" dus menes "bad ...
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5 votes

Did Proto-Indo-European put the adjective before or behind the noun?

PIE had a rich inflection system, as is echoed in the oldest attested daughter languages. Owing to this, if adjective and noun were each appropriately declined, the order could be either way. As to ...
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  • 164
4 votes
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Do Persian Adjectives have Masc. Fem. and Neuter forms

No. Farsi has no grammatical gender, its nouns are not divided into Masculine, Feminine, and Neuter, neither are its adjectives. Farsi even has no distinction between 'he' and 'she', both of them are ...
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  • 15.7k
4 votes

Adjective terms for modifier of a preceding subject and modifier of following noun?

The comments by user2619 and jlawler answer the question directly. I can add more information here, so that a deeper understanding of the distinction between predicative and attributive adjectives is ...
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4 votes

For adjectives which change meaning by position: why are they subjective before nouns but objective after?

Well, here's a theory. Some Romance languages distinguish two sorts of attribution: essential versus accidental. In Portuguese, that's the difference between "estar" (accidental) and "ser" (...
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4 votes
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Term for -ed as an adjectival suffix?

I'm not sure if there's a name for this specific case that's more general than "denominal adjective" but it might be called a "possessive denominal adjective". There is work on this out there, e.g. ...
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4 votes
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Do other languages than English have verbals ,too?

At least, other Indogermanic languages have the ability to derive nouns from verbs, too. In Latin, there is a suffix -tio, -tionis that forms abstract nouns (like derivatio "derivation" from derivare),...
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4 votes
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Is there a term for an adjective or noun becoming a verb, like "to adult"?

The process of deriving a verb from an adjective would be called deadjectival verbalisation, which is in turn an instance of derivaton. The resulting word could be called a deadjectival verb. Note ...
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  • 6,120
4 votes

Is gradable vs absolute a universal distinction?

I think there is a distinction here, and it's cross-linguistic—but your example falls on the wrong side. Most English adjectives (that aren't already in comparative/superlative form—"*more best") are ...
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  • 2,585
4 votes
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The Grelling-Nelson Paradox

Just as you can view the question of the self-descriptiveness of "non-self-descriptive" as a form of the liar's paradox ("this statement is false") you can similarly view the question of whether "...
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4 votes
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What does Potrefená mean in Czech?

Potrefená is a feminine gender past passive participle of the perfective verb potrefit “to hit”, its imperfective counterpart trefit has the same English translation, “to hit”. This verb is a ...
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4 votes
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What are the pros and cons of having adjectives appear first?

Which approach allows for the transfer of a higher amount of information bits per second? This is, as it turns out, a question that can be answered experimentally: neither. Coupé, Oh, Dediu, and ...
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4 votes
Accepted

Why "a liter of water" but not "a 100ºC of water"?

I believe what you are seeing is the difference between Partitive and a normal DP. Partitive indicates that the phrase is about a quantified subset of a bigger set of objects. Some languages even have ...
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  • 8,530
3 votes

How is the the adjective in a definite noun phrase different from a nondefinite one in Germanic and Balto-Slavic languages?

The wikipedia article is (as often) badly formulated. "In the Germanic languages" is wrong. "In (some) Germanic languages" would be all right.
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  • 22.6k
3 votes

Are there any languages that mark predicative and attributive adjectives differently?

In German, attributive adjectives agree in number and gender, while predicative adjectives (which are used with a copulative verb) do not, and are invariable. In fact, some analyses of German consider ...
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  • 16.6k
3 votes

What is the name of this class of grammatical modifiers?

Just to stop answering in the comments: Pronouns, like other grammatical categories, are a major syntactic class, primarily defined by distributional criteria, i.e., the contexts where they can(not) ...
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3 votes

Do Persian Adjectives have Masc. Fem. and Neuter forms

I agree with Yellow Sky, however I just need to add that some adjectives which are borrowed from Arabic have actually brought the Feminine and Masculine forms which happen to be actually used a lot in ...
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