Print

Print


I am sorry Seth. I can’t really follow your argument. Also I don’t really understand your last post that well either And. But never mind. I would recommend everybody to read Dixon’s trilogy “Basic Linguistic Theory”. A very solid foundation to the subject.

Let me quote a little more from volume 1…

"It has been suggested for a few languages that there is no distinction between Noun and Verb. And for a larger number it has been said that there is no Adjective class. Indeed, some grammars include no mention at all of “adjective”. Close examination of the example sentences and vocabulary may reveal that concepts coded by adjectives in other languages are in this language all realized as verbs, or all as nouns. In point of fact, I know of no language which has been thoroughly and insightfully described for which an Adjective class cannot be recognized.”

That was from page 112. An interesting bit from page 114 is …

“There is a semantic basis to the make-up of a small Adjective class. If a language has a very small adjective class, these adjectives are likely to belong to four semantic types:

DIMENSION — “big”, “little”, “long”, “short”
AGE — “old”, “young”, “new”
COLOUR — “black”, “white”, “red”
VALUE — “good”, “bad”

An Adj …”

But I better be careful.  Robert will be after me for copyright infringement :-). 

Here is a link to buy the first volume. 

https://www.amazon.com/Basic-Linguistic-Theory-1-Methodology/dp/0199571066/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1542806440&sr=1-1&keywords=basic+linguistic+theory <https://www.amazon.com/Basic-Linguistic-Theory-1-Methodology/dp/0199571066/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1542806440&sr=1-1&keywords=basic+linguistic+theory>

At 50 USD / volume, maybe a bit steep if you are a student. 

I consider my copies of the trilogy, money well spent.

  … Stewart



> On Nov 21, 2018, at 7:48 PM, Seth KAZAN <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> this type of descriptive considerations are of little interest for the
> construction, I would even say they are harmful ...
> Thus, a priori languages (in the etymological sense) often use grammatical
> terminologies that freeze their construction on a posteriori basis without
> necessity... so a recurrent classic criticism is their lack of grammatical
> imagination ...
> I who practice this type of language, I find that staying at the level of
> word construction for the entire speech is much more consistent ...
> the notions of nouns and adjectives and verbs gain to be replaced by
> notions of roots, noemes, primes ...
> Descriptively, we could see only accumalations of adjectives, if it could
> reassure the followers of Dixon ...
> 
> have a pic for the day... <https://odd-language.tumblr.com/>
> 
> 
> Le mer. 21 nov. 2018 à 12:01, And Rosta <[log in to unmask]> a écrit :
> 
>> On Wed, 21 Nov 2018 at 10:07, Stewart Fraser <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> 
>>> Not so. He says “some linguists treat adjectives as a subclass of
>>> nouns/verbs”.
>>> I understand this as Dixon not really wanting to make a big thing of it,
>>> but obviously not agreeing with these linguists.
>> 
>> 
>> That's the crux: how to read the rhetorical force of "some linguists", with
>> no exposition of contrary view of any other linguists. I read it as saying
>> "X is a reasonable view, possibly one that is not the only possible
>> reasonable view, and one that I myself will not declare a definite position
>> on", which invites the reader to take it to be the analysis that is
>> probably but not definitely the best. I kind of feel that that reading is
>> based on long experience of being an academic reader, and that if it was
>> inconsistent with rhetorical practices in the field I would have noticed;
>> but that feeling is not backed up by any concrete evidence (in the form of
>> research on such rhetorical practices in the field).
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>> After all he says "It is likely that a class of adjective can be
>>> recognized for every language… “
>>> 
>> 
>> That's not the question at issue (in the Alex--Stewart--And strand of the
>> thread), and there universally being a class of adjectives doesn't bear on
>> whether it is universally a primary category.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>> 
>>> He is quite clear on this. He puts adjectives on the same level as nouns
>>> or verbs. Probably not as important or distinct as nouns or verbs, but
>>> nevertheless, on the same level.
>>> 
>> 
>> I've not read the book. Perhaps it is elsewhere in the book that he is
>> quite clear that he puts adjectives on the same level as N/V.
>> 
>> (By way of mere chat, I will idly mention that I have recently come to the
>> conclusion that in English, verbs and adjectives are essentially the same
>> primary category, 'Vadjective', differentiated by whether or not they have
>> objects, with the presumption that all 'verbs' are -- roughly speaking --
>> unaccusative; 'verbs' are transitive vadjectives and 'adjectives' are
>> intransitive vadjectives.)
>> 
>> --And.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>>> 
>>> … Stewart
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>>> On Nov 21, 2018, at 4:25 PM, And Rosta <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>> On Tue, 20 Nov 2018, 21:07 Stewart Fraser <[log in to unmask] wrote:
>>>> 
>>>>> Yes, Dixon means “adjective” should be given the same status as “noun”
>>> or
>>>>> “verb”.
>>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> Surely this is directly contradicted by the 'grammatical profile'
>>> paragraph
>>>> of the passage you've helpfully quoted? He acknowledges that adjectives
>>> may
>>>> be but a subclass of a major class (and Alex had observed that such a
>>>> subclass may be but one among hundreds).
>>>> 
>>>> --And.
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>> 
>>>>> Let me quote a bit from Basic Linguistic Theory …
>>>>> 
>>>>> “It is likely that a class of adjective can be recognized for every
>>>>> language, although there are two main parameters of variation.
>>>>> 
>>>>>  The first relates to grammatical profile. In some languages,
>>> adjectives
>>>>> have similar properties to nouns; Latin is an example, where
>> adjectives
>>>>> inflect for case and number — like nouns — and also for gender — in
>>>>> agreement with the noun they modify. (For such languages, some
>> linguists
>>>>> treat adjectives as a subclass of nouns.) In other languages,
>> adjectives
>>>>> share grammatical properties with verbs; in Chinese, for example an
>>>>> adjective may occur in the same functional slot as an intransitive
>> verb.
>>>>> (Some linguists treat adjectives as a subclassof verbs, in such
>>> languages.)
>>>>> Then there are languages — like Enlish — where adjectives have rather
>>>>> different grammatical properties from both nouns and verbs. And
>> others —
>>>>> including the Berber languages of North Africa — whose adjectives
>> share
>>>>> properties with both nouns and verbs.
>>>>> 
>>>>>  The second parameter of variation is size. English and many other
>>>>> languages have an open class of adjectives, with hundreds of
>> members(to
>>>>> which new items may be added). Other languages have a small, closed
>>> class,
>>>>> with from half a dozen to a hundred or so members.”
>>>>> 
>>>>>    At one point in his life Dixon did not believe that every language
>>>>> had a distinct class of adjective, however over time, he changed his
>>> mind.
>>>>> 
>>>>>   You notice he has “likely” in the above quote … just in case a new
>>>>> language is discovered which has no distinct adjective class. But I
>>> don’t
>>>>> think he really believes that such a language will ever be discovered.
>>> And
>>>>> he believes that all languages discovered so far, when properly
>>> analyzed,
>>>>> show a distinct class of adjective.
>>>>> 
>>>>> … Stewart
>>>>> 
>>>>>> On Nov 21, 2018, at 2:37 AM, Alex Fink <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> On Sat, 17 Nov 2018 22:20:25 +0100, BPJ <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>>>> 
>>>>>>> Dixon claims, in volume 2 of Basic Linguistic Theory, that there is
>> no
>>>>>>> language which doesn't have a class of adjectives which differs in
>> at
>>>>> least
>>>>>>> some way from nouns and/or verbs.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> "At least some way" is a low bar.  What does Dixon (or you,
>>> summarising)
>>>>> mean by "class" here?  Is he arguing that every grammar should treat
>>>>> "adjective" as a top-level lexical category on a level with "noun" and
>>>>> "verb"?  Surely we should think more ~taxonomically than that; surely
>>> one
>>>>> can have subclasses whose distinctness falls at any point of the scale
>>> from
>>>>> top-level lexical category to cryptotype, and even if we can
>> distinguish
>>>>> adjectives they could still be relatively far down that scale.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> I am reminded of Beth Levin's verb classes in English.  If one takes
>> a
>>>>> close look at English and sets out to partition the verbs into classes
>>> so
>>>>> that two verbs fall into different classes if there's any syntactic
>>> pattern
>>>>> or argument-structure alternation that one permits and the other
>>> doesn't,
>>>>> one ends up with I think it was over 150 classes.  That's no reason to
>>>>> break up "verb" as the basic Part of Speech.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Alex
>>>>> 
>>> 
>>