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

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By R. M. W. Dixon, Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

The reports during this quantity recommend that each language has an adjective classification, yet those fluctuate in personality and in dimension. In its grammatical homes, an adjective category could beas just like nouns, or to verbs, or to either, or to neither.ze. while in a few languages the adjective category is huge and will be freely extra to, in others it really is small and closed. with only a dozen or so participants. The e-book will curiosity students and complicated scholars of language typology and of the syntax and semantics of adjectives.

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It will inflect for tense and for person and number of the subject, like a verb, when functioning as head of an intransitive predicate. ) (2) In the Australian language Nunggubuyu (Heath 1984: 152), an adjective can function as modifier in an NP; it then takes a noun class prefix and case and number suffixes, like a noun. An adjective may also take an intransitive subject prefix, just like a verb; it must then be functioning as an intransitive predicate. 1—an adjective has more limited mor- 1 Adjective Classes in Typological Perspective 27 phological possibilities than a verb in this slot; it can only take tense and aspect suffixes if the inchoative derivation suffix is first added.

1. Malayalam and Yoruba each have about fifteen members in their adjective classes, Hua has four, and Dagbani has about seventy. They are: • Malayalam: four DIMENSION, three AGE, one VALUE, plus 'humble' and 'various', 'few', 'any', 'other', 'this particular'. « Hua: two DIMENSION ('big', 'little'), two PHYSICAL PROPERTY ('raw, false', 'wild, not tame'). « Yoruba: two DIMENSION, two AGE, three VALUE, three PHYSICAL PROPERTY, five HUMAN PROPENSITY. • Dagbani: five or more in each of DIMENSION, AGE, VALUE, COLOUR; about twenty in PHYSICAL PROPERTY, etc.

In Maasai (Tucker and Mpaayei 1955: 3-13), a noun—as head of an NP—inflects for gender and number, while an adjective—as modifier—inflects only for number. But if the head noun is omitted, so that the NP consists just of an adjective, then 1 Adjective Classes in Typological Perspective 25 that inflects for gender and number, like a noun. The principle appears to be that number marking goes on every word in an NP, but gender marking just onto one word (a head noun, if present, otherwise an adjective).

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