The adjective


Иностранные языки, филология и лингвистика

Unlike nouns djectives do not possess full nomintive vlue. Clssifiction of djectives.Хаймович и Роговская With regrd to the ctegory of the degrees of comprison djectives fll under 2 lexicogrmmticl subclsses: comprbles nd noncomprbles. The nucleus of the ltter is composed of derived djectives like wooden Crimen mthemticl etc.



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The adjective.

Adjective is a part of speech characterized by the following typical features:

1.The lexico-grammatical meaning of “attributes (of substantives)”. By attributes we mean different properties of substantives, such as their size, colour, position in space, material, psychic state of persons, etc.

2.The morphological category of the degrees of comparison.

3.The characteristic combinability with nouns (a beautiful girl), link verbs (…is clever), adverbs, mostly those of degree (a very clever boy), the so-called “prop word” one (the grey one).

4.The stem-building affixes –ful, -less, -ish, -ous, -ive, -ic, un-, pre-, in-, etc.

5.Its functions of an attribute and a predicative complement.

Blokh:The adjective expresses the categorial semantics of property of a substance  each adjective used in text presupposes relation to some noun. Unlike nouns, adjectives do not possess a full nominative value.  

Classification of adjectives.Хаймович и Роговская

With regard to the category of the degrees of comparison adjectives fall under 2 lexico-grammatical subclasses: comparables and non-comparables. The nucleus of the latter is composed of derived adjectives like wooden, Crimean, mathematical, etc.  Theses adjectives are called relative as distinct from all other adjectives called qualitative.

Most qualitative adjectives build up opposemes of comparison, but some do not:

a.adjectives that in themselves express the highest degree of a quality: supreme, extreme

b.those having the suffix –ish which indicates the degree of quality: reddish, whitish

c.those denoting qualities which are not compatible with the idea of comparison.: deaf, dead, lame, perpendicular.

Blokh:All the adjectives are traditionally divided into 2 large subclasses: qualitative and relative.

Relative adjectives express such properties of a substance as are determined by the direct relation of the substance to some other substance (e.g. wood – a wooden hut, history – a historical event).

The nature of this relationship in adjectives is best revealed by definitional correlations: e.g. a wooden hut – a hut made of wood; a historical event – an event referring to a certain period of history.

Qualitative adjectives, as different from relative ones, denote various qualities of substances which admit of a quantitative estimation, i.e. of establishing their correlative quantitative measure. The measure of a quality can be estimated as high or low, adequate or inadequate, sufficient or insufficient, optimal or excessive (e.g. a difficult task – a very difficult task).

!!! Substances can possess such qualities as are incompatible with the idea of degrees of comparison  adjectives denoting these qualities, while belonging to the qualitative subclasses, are in the ordinary use incapable of forming degrees of comparison (e.g. extinct, immobile, deaf, final, fixed).

Many adjectives considered under the heading of relative still can form degrees of comparison, thereby, as it were, transforming the denoted relative property of a substance into such as can be graded quantitatively (e.g. a military design – of a less military design – of a more military design).

The adjective functions may be grammatically divided into ‘evaluative’ and ‘specificative’. One and the same adjective, irrespective of its being relative or qualitative, can be used either in one or the other function.

e.g. good is basically qualitative, but used as a grading term in teaching it acquires the specificative value (bad, satisfactory, good, excellent).

The category of degrees of comparis:Хаймович/Роговская:

The category of the degrees of comparison of adjectives is the system of opposemes (long – longer – longest) showing qualitative distinctions of qualities. More exactly it shows whether the adjective denotes the property of some substance absolutely, or relatively as a higher or the highest amount of the property in comparison with that of some other substances.

‘positive’, ‘comparative’ and ‘superlative’ degrees.

The positive degree is not marked. We may speak of a zero morpheme. The comparative and superlative degrees are built up either synthetically (by affixation or suppletivity) or analytically (with the help of word-morphemes more and most), which depends mainly on the structure of the stem.

Some authors treat more beautiful and the most beautiful not as analytical forms, but as free syntactical combinations of adverbs and adjectives. One of the arguments is that less and least form combinations with adjectives similar to those with more and most: e.g. more beautiful – less beautiful, the most beautiful – the least beautiful.  

In order to prove that more beautiful is an analytical form of the comparative degree, we have to prove that more is a grammatical word-morpheme identical with the morpheme –er.

1.More an –er are identical as o their meaning of ‘a higher degree’.

2.Their distribution is complementary. Together they cover all the adjectives having the degrees of comparison. Those adjectives which have comparative opposites with suffix –er have usually no parallel opposites with more and vice versa.

e.g. beautiful – more beautiful (not beautifuller),nice – nicer (not more nice)

This is not the case with less:

1.Less and –er have different, even opposite meanings.

2.The distribution of –er and less is not complementary. One and the same lexical morpheme regularly attaches both less and –er: prettier – less pretty, safer – less safe.

Besides, unlike more, less is regularly replaced by not so: less pretty = not so pretty.

These facts show that more in more beautiful is a grammatical word-morpheme identical with the morpheme –er of the comparative degree grammeme  more beautiful is an analytical form.

A new objection is raised in the case of the superlative degree. In the expression a most interesting theory the indefinite article is used whereas a prettiest child is impossible  there is some difference between the synthetic superlative and the analytical one.

One must not forget that more and most are not only word-morphemes of comparison. They can be notional words. They are polysemantic and polyfunctional words. One of the meanings of most is ‘very, exceedingly’ (a most interesting book).

The notional word more in the meaning ‘to greater extent’ can also be used to modify adjectives, as in It’s more grey than brown. More grey here is a combination of words.

The positive degree does not convey the idea of comparison. Its meaning is absolute. Jespersen: the positive degree is, a matter of fact, negative in relation to comparison.

The comparative degree and the superlative degree are both relative in meaning (Peter is older than Mary – Peter is not old).

Smirnitsky: thinks that there is good ground to speak of 2 forms of comparison: the positive degree and the relative degree which exists in 2 varieties – the comparative degree and the superlative degree.


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