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At 07:15 8.5.2003 -0400, John Cowan wrote:

>Adam Walker scripsit:
>
> > Are other languages as silly about the ordering of
> > adjectives as English?
>
>Well, at least the distinction between "public Swedish libraries" and
>"Swedish public libraries" carries semantic information.  JRRT, when young,
>wrote a story about a "green great dragon": his mother pointed out that
>it had to be "great green dragon", though no reason for this is known.
>In general, changing the ordering of adjectives either produces a soft
>error (like "green great dragon", which is intelligible but ungrammatical),
>or else changes the meaning.

Unless of course a "great dragon" is a special kind of beast from a mere
"dragon",
and comes in different colors.  I'm sure the adult JRRT would have taken
that bent!

/ B.Philip Jonsson B^)
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
No man forgets his original trade: the rights of
nations and of kings sink into questions of grammar,
if grammarians discuss them.
-Dr. Samuel Johnson (1707 - 1784)