11

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 on. In other words, this is and has been a historical fact of the language for many years. Ringe & Taylor (2014) The development of Old English has a ...


10

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 class system involved in agreement and singular / plural formation. Adjectives, which are pre-nominal, have a lexical class, but demonstratives and numerals, ...


9

While there are lot of Adj/N pairs in English, your example seems to be of the specific type 'Nominal Adjectives' (e.g. 'the meek', 'the poor'). I wouldn't say they're nouns in their own right; you can't clearly swap them into other sentences ('A headstrong doesn't give up' or 'I'm looking for a headstrong'.) Even when it is true that there are identical N/...


8

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 way around 'машина белая' actually means 'the car is white'. In Hindi, 'सफेद गाडी' ('safed gaadi') has the adjective 'safed' before the noun too. Even in ...


7

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 "substantives" (nomina substantiva). Latin adjectives and substantives are very similar morphologically, so it makes sense to group them together when talking ...


7

"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), attributive adjectives typically precede the noun, while in others (Latin, most of Romance, Swahili, Arabic, Persian), they tend to follow. There's no ...


6

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 logic operates with two fundamental categories, "things" and "relations". Things are linguistically represented with nouns, pronouns, and noun-like entities like ...


6

It's not quite true that these heavy phrases cannot be used as attributive adjectives in English. They can; but they cannot occupy the ordinary prenominal attributive position. Instead, they are postposited: The plainly-dressed brown-eyed girl angry with her brother stormed out of the room; the other girls remained. Some folks treat this as ‘...


6

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 not be too different elsewhere — have a special morphological paradigm (i.e. a set of endings) for the adjectives when they stand in the modifier position with ...


6

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 are only three color terms: red, white, and black. These are the three thought to be inherited from Proto-Bantu (and correspond nicely to Berlin and Kay's ...


5

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 pronoun. Gender is a typical category for nouns, not adjectives. You can refer to Lakoff (Fire, women and dangerous things) with regards how gender-like ...


5

The best term to denote headstrong when it functions like a noun is nominal. The term nominal is broader than the the term noun. Any word that functions as the head of a noun phrase is a nominal. Thus if the head of a noun phrase looks like an adjective (e.g. the good, the helpful, the first, the best, etc.), then one can use the term "nominal" to denote it. ...


5

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, all linguists recognize that participle forms sometimes represent actual adjectives, not verbs. Greg Lee's answer mentioned the "very" test, which indicates that ...


5

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 used as the simple versions, since they do serve a different and definite purpose, namely to denote a permanent and distinctive feature by either emphasizing (e....


5

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 mind" (> "bandit, enemy") dus dius "bad sky" Adjective after ḱléwos wéru "wide fame" ḱléwos meǵh₂ "big fame" ...


5

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 the actual order, there is not enough evidence to support an absolute trend either way in PIE. Remember that word order is more important in modern Germanic and ...


4

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 established. A predicative adjective is (part of) the main clause predicate, hence the term predicative. An attributive adjective is also a predicate, but one ...


4

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 the same, /u/ او.


4

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" (essential). Since both orders of modifier-modified are permitted in French (as they are also, marginally, in English), the order has been specialized to express this ...


4

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), there is a suffix -or (applied to the supine stem) that derives agents (like actor "actor" from agere, ago, egi, actum). The process of derivation is part of ...


4

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. this abstract (p.2) by Ashwini Deo, Itamar Francez and Andrew Koontz-Garboden.


4

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 that in the example you cite, the term that the verb is derived from could also be claimed to be the noun "adult", which would then be a denominal verbalisation.


4

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 comparable. But a handful are not, such as "only", "galore", "additional", and maybe "daily".1 And "unique" is not in that small category. Compare: John is ...


4

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 "autological" is autological along the lines of "this statement is true." The traditional analysis is that such statements can be taken as either true or false, ...


4

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 comes down to how much the writer wants to sound poetic or professional vs. how much they want to reflect spoken language (which is quite important in this case ...


4

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 Pellegrino (2019) showed that the information rate (bits per second) of different languages is roughly consistent all across the world; if the speakers of a ...


3

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) occur---so that the set of contexts will be different for each category. Of course, this correlates significantly with their function (or semantics). Smaller ...


3

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 the predicative adjectives and deadjectival adverbs to in fact belong to the same category of speech, since an adjective used as an adverb also does not agree ...


3

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 legal/formal context. An example would be: محترم and محترمه (meaning respectful, honourable, respected) Which is a title referred to a man and woman.


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