Approaching Grammar: Adjectives

Since I decided to cluster even the subject, agent, patient and the secundative object together onto the verb, this leaves not very much room for adjectives.

I want to include the adjectives within the verbs.

“The car reds” instead of “The car is red” and “The redding car halts.” instead of “The red car halts”. Still, I somehow feel I will have to intensively meddle with participles. In fact, by this definition, my adjectives will in fact be participles as they are derived from verbs. But that’s just another name.

I wonder if there are more interesting distinctions in participles than the usual English and German way: progressive and past participle.

English: to walk – walking – walked
German: gehen – gehend – gegangen

I haven’t done any research yet but when I think about these two distinctions I would identify them with the imperfective and the perfective aspect of verbs. Therefore, I wonder whether it is reasonable to incorporate other aspects or even moods and tenses within the partciple (that means adjective-derival) system.


2 thoughts on “Approaching Grammar: Adjectives

  1. In languages that have stative verbs, the “adjective” is often an abbreviated relative clause. This is similar in spirit to a participle, but implies a different set of morphological and syntactic machinery. I also suggest that you not get distracted by the semantic overtones of the Germanic -ing/-ung participles, or of the IE participles in general, since those will be mere distraction in a language that heavily uses stative verbs.

    By way of comparison, my Yivrian adjectives were originally designed before I appreciated the possibilities of non IE-style adjectives, and before I realized how I could link the adjectives to the stative verbs. (Yivrian has always had stative verbs, but at the time I first designed them I had never seen them in a natlang, and didn’t realize that’s what they were.) So I have an unfinished revision of the Yivrian grammar underway that reanalyzes the “adjective” class as stative participles. The stative participle is a distinct morphological form that doesn’t convey information about aspect or voice, but can take other elements of verbal morphology, such as the modal prefixes and the negative suffix. This makes it clear that the “adjective” is a special case of the verb, rather than being a class of its own.

    This may give you some ideas for your own language.

    • Thank you very much for you comment! This may indeed help my thinking as I felt really stuck in that. Now I know adirection to research in. I haven’t thought about the whole participle/adjective thing to be connected with the fact that I included stative verbs.

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