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At 15:44 17/07/03, John Cowan <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>I think this blurs a necessary distinction.  Adjectives to nouns is just
>typically English zero definition: as nouns can be verbed, so adjectives
>can be nouned as in "the good, the bad, and the ugly", a practice not
>unknown in other IE languages, and even provided with a special neuter
>article in Spanish.
>
>But constructs like "mission suitability" (a phrase beloved of NASA) are
>not an instance of a denominal adjective "mission" zero-derived from the
>noun "mission", but rather a noun-noun compound, a type much more common
>in non-IE languages.  Chinese and Turkish are full of them, for example.
>
>In short, I think that nouns and adjectives are tolerably separate in
>English, and ought not to be lumped.


Ah, thank you: I was about to attempt to express the same opinion, and you
saved me a lot of effort.:)

Of course, there is in English a definite noun-adj slippery slope, which
for instance "fun" slipped down in the twentieth century.  (Obviously it
varies by dialect, but roughly to my parents' generation "fun" is clearly a
noun (and so "funner" is an abomination); for me "funner" is marginal; and
for the generation younger than me fun has become an adjective and so
"funner" is perfectly normal.  But the very fact this change is perceptible
requires two PsOS.

But I suspect PsOS are always fuzzy things.  They're analogical patterns,
such that if one member of a group acts a certain way you expect that
others will, and this gets reinforced by way of self-fulfilling
prophecy.  But of course the same process can lead to subclasses and the
like, which keeps the system messy and therefore in motion.  (I hope that
made sense.  I'd swear it did when I started to write it. :)  )

Ian