CHAPTER XVIII ADJECTIVE

§ 1.The adjective expresses the categorial semantics of property of a substance. It means that each adjective used in the text presupposes relation to some noun the property of whose referent it denotes, such as its material, colour, dimensions, position, state, and other characteristics both permanent and temporary. It follows from this that, unlike nouns, adjectives do not possess a full nominative value. Indeed, words like long, hospitable, fragrant cannot effect any self-dependent nominations; as units of informative sequences they exist only in collocations showing what is long, who is hospitable, what is fragrant.

The semantically bound character of the adjective is emphasised in English by the use of the prop-substitute one in the absence of the notional head-noun of the phrase. E.g.: I don't want a yellow balloon, let me have the green one over there.

On the other hand, if the adjective is placed in a

 


nominatively self-dependent position, this leads to its substantivisation. E.g.: Outside it was a beautiful day, and the sun tinged the snow with red. Cf.: The sun tinged the snow with the red colour.

Adjectives are distinguished by a specific combinability with nouns, which they modify, if not accompanied by adjuncts, usually in pre-position, and occasionally in postposition; by a combinability with link-verbs, both functional and notional; by a combinability with modifying adverbs.

In the sentence the adjective performs the functions of an attribute and a predicative. Of the two, the more specific function of the adjective is that of an attribute, since the function of a predicative can be performed by the noun as well. There is, though, a profound difference between the predicative uses of the adjective and the noun which is determined by their native categorial features. Namely, the predicative adjective expresses some attributive property of its noun-referent, whereas the predicative noun expresses various substantival characteristics of its referent, such as its identification or classification of different types. This can be shown on examples analysed by definitional and transformational procedures. Cf.:

You talk to people as if they were a group. → You talk to people as if they formed a group. Quite obviously, he was a friend. —» His behaviour was like that of a friend.

Cf., as against the above:

I will be silent as a grave. → I will be like a silent grave. Walker felt healthy. → Walker felt a healthy man. It was sensational. → That fact was a sensational fact.

When used as predicatives or post-positional attributes, a considerable number of adjectives, in addition to the general combinability characteristics of the whole class, are distinguished by a complementive combinability with nouns. The complement-expansions of adjectives are effected by means of prepositions. E.g. fond of, jealous of, curious of, suspicious of; angry with, sick with; serious about, certain about, happy about; grateful to, thankful to, etc. Many such adjectival collocations render essentially verbal meanings and some of them have direct or indirect parallels among verbs. Cf.: be fond of — love, like; be envious of - envy; be angry with — resent; be mad for, about — covet; be thankful to — thank.


Alongside of other complementive relations expressed with the help of prepositions and corresponding to direct and prepositional object-relations of verbs, some of these adjectives may render relations of addressee. Cf.: grateful to, indebted to, partial to, useful for.

To the derivational features of adjectives, belong a number of suffixes and prefixes of which the most important are: -ful (hopeful), -less (flawless), -ish (bluish), -ous (famous), -ive (decorative), -ic (basic); un- (unprecedented), in- (inaccurate), pre- (premature). Among the adjectival affixes should also be named the prefix a-, constitutive for the stative subclass which is to be discussed below.

As for the variable (demutative) morphological features, the English adjective, having lost in the course of the history of English all its forms of grammatical agreement with the noun, is distinguished only by the hybrid category of comparison, which will form a special subject of our study.

§ 2. All the adjectives are traditionally divided into two large subclasses: qualitative and relative.

Relative adjectives express such properties of a substance as are determined by the direct relation of the substance to some other substance. E.g.: wood — a wooden hut; mathematics — mathematical precision; history — a historical event; table — tabular presentation; colour — coloured postcards; surgery — surgical treatment; the Middle Ages — mediaeval rites.

The nature of this "relationship" in adjectives is best revealed by definitional correlations. Cf.: a wooden hut — a hut made of wood; a historical event — an event referring to a certain period of history; surgical treatment — treatment consisting in the implementation of surgery; etc.

Qualitative adjectives, as different from relative ones, denote various qualities of substances which admit of a quantitative estimation, i.e. of establishing their correlative quantitative measure. The measure of a quality can be estimated as high or low, adequate or inadequate, sufficient or insufficient, optimal or excessive. Cf.: an awkward situation — a very awkward situation; a difficult task — too difficult a task; an enthusiastic reception — rather an enthusiastic reception; a hearty welcome — not a very hearty welcome; etc.

In this connection, the ability of an adjective to form degrees of comparison is usually taken as a formal sign of


its qualitative character, in opposition to a relative adjective which is understood as incapable of forming degrees of comparison by definition. Cf.: a pretty girl — a prettier girl; a quick look — a quicker look; a hearty welcome — the heartiest of welcomes; a bombastic speech — the most bombastic speech.

Mow ever, in actual speech the described principle of distinction is not at all strictly observed, which is noted in the very grammar treatises putting it forward. Two typical cases of contradiction should be pointed out here.

In the first place, substances can possess such qualities as are incompatible with the idea of degrees of comparison. Accordingly, adjectives denoting these qualities, while belonging to the qualitative subclass, are in the ordinary use incapable of forming degrees of comparison. Here refer adjectives like extinct, immobile, deaf, final, fixed, etc.

In the second place, many adjectives considered under the heading of relative still can form degrees of comparison, thereby, as it were, transforming the denoted relative property of a substance into such as can be graded quantitatively. Cf.: a mediaeval approach—rather a mediaeval approach — a far more mediaeval approach; of a military design — of a less military design — of a more military design; a grammatical topic — a purely grammatical topic — the most grammatical of the suggested topics.

In order to overcome the demonstrated lack of rigour in the definitions in question, we may introduce an additional linguistic distinction which is more adaptable to the chances of usage. The suggested distinction is based on the evaluative function of adjectives. According as they actually give some qualitative evaluation to the substance referent or only point out its corresponding native property, all the adjective functions may be grammatically divided into "evaluative" and "specificative". In particular, one and the same adjective, irrespective of its being basically (i.e. in the sense of the fundamental semantic property of its root constituent) "relative" or "qualitative", can be used either in the evaluative function or in the specificative function.

For instance, the adjective good is basically qualitative. On the other hand, when employed as a grading term in teaching, i.e. a term forming part of the marking scale together with the grading terms bad, satisfactory, excellent, it acquires the said specificative value; in other words, it becomes a specificative, not an evaluative unit in the grammatical sense


(though, dialectically, it does signify in this case a lexical evaluation of the pupil's progress). Conversely, the adjective wooden is basically relative, but when used in the broader meaning "expressionless" or "awkward" it acquires an evaluative force and, consequently, can presuppose a greater or lesser degree ("amount") of the denoted properly in the corresponding referent. E.g.:

Bundle found herself looking into the expressionless, wooden face of Superintendent Battle (A. Christie). The superintendent was sitting behind a table and looking more wooden than ever (Ibid).

The degrees of comparison are essentially evaluative formulas, therefore any adjective used in a higher comparison degree (comparative, superlative) is thereby made into an evaluative adjective, if only for the nonce (see the examples above).

Thus, the introduced distinction between the evaluative and specificative uses of adjectives, in the long run, emphasises the fact that the morphological category of comparison (comparison degrees) is potentially represented in the whole class of adjectives and is constitutive for it.

§ 3. Among the words signifying properties of a nounal referent there is a lexemic set which claims to be recognised as a separate part of speech, i.e. as a class of words different from the adjectives in its class-forming features. These are words built up by the prefix a- and denoting different states, mostly of temporary duration. Here belong lexemes like afraid, agog, adrift, ablaze. In traditional grammar these words were generally considered under the heading of "predicative adjectives" (some of them also under the heading of adverbs), since their most typical position in the sentence is that of a predicative and they are but occasionally used as pre-positional attributes to nouns.

Notional words signifying states and specifically used as predicatives were first identified as a separate part of speech in the Russian language by L. V. Shcherba and V. V. Vinogradov. The two scholars called the newly identified part of speech the "category of state" (and, correspondingly, separate words making up this category, "words of the category of state"). Here belong the Russian words mostly ending in -o, but also having other suffixes: тепло, зябко, одиноко, радостно, жаль, лень, etc. Traditionally the Russian


words of the category of state were considered as constituents of the class of adverbs, and they are still considered as such by many Russian scholars.

On the analogy of the Russian "category of state", the English qualifying a-words of the corresponding meanings were subjected to a lexico-grammatical analysis and given the part-of-speech heading "category of state". This analysis was first conducted by B. A. Ilyish and later continued by other linguists. The term "words of the category of state", being rather cumbersome from the technical point of view, was later changed into "stative words", or "statives".

The part-of-speech interpretation of the statives is not shared by all linguists working in the domain of English, and has found both its proponents and opponents.

Probably the most consistent and explicit exposition of the part-of-speech interpretation of statives has been given by B. S. Khaimovich and B. I. Rogovskaya [Khaimovich, Rogovskaya, 199 ff]. Their theses supporting the view in question can be summarised as follows.

First, the statives, called by the quoted authors "ad-links" (by virtue of their connection with link-verbs and on the analogy of the term "adverbs"), are allegedly opposed to adjectives on a purely semantic basis, since adjectives denote "qualities", and statives-adlinks denote "states". Second, as different from adjectives, statives-adlinks are characterised by the specific prefix a-. Third, they allegedly do not possess the category of the degrees of comparison. Fourth, the combinability of statives-adlinks is different from that of adjectives in so far as they are not used in the pre-positional attributive function, i.e. are characterised by the absence of the right-hand combinability with nouns.

The advanced reasons, presupposing many-sided categorial estimation of statives, are undoubtedly serious and worthy of note. Still, a closer consideration of the properties of the analysed lexemic set cannot but show that, on the whole, the said reasons are hardly instrumental in proving the main idea, i.e. in establishing the English stative as a separate part of speech. The re-consideration of the stative on the basis of comparison with the classical adjective inevitably discloses the fundamental relationship between the two, — such relationship as should be interpreted in no other terms than identity on the part-of-speech level, though, naturally, providing for their distinct differentiation on the subclass level.


The first scholar who undertook this kind of re-consideration of the lexemic status of English statives was L. S. Barkhudarov, and in our estimation of them we essentially follow his principles, pointing out some additional criteria of argument.

First, considering the basic meaning expressed by the stative, we formulate it as "stative property", i.e. a kind of property of a nounal referent. As we already know, the adjective as a whole signifies not "quality" in the narrow sense, but "property", which is categorially divided into "substantive quality as such" and "substantive relation". In this respect, statives do not fundamentally differ from classical adjectives. Moreover, common adjectives and participles in adjective-type functions can express the same, or, more specifically, typologically the same properties (or "qualities" in a broader sense) as are expressed by statives.

Indeed, the main meaning types conveyed by statives are: the psychic state of a person (afraid, ashamed, aware); the physical state of a person (astir, afoot); the physical state of an object (afire, ablaze, aglow); the state of an object in space (askew, awry, aslant). Meanings of the same order are rendered by pre-positional adjectives. Cf.:

the living predecessor — the predecessor alive; eager curiosity — curiosity agog; the burning house — the house afire; a floating raft — a raft afloat; a half-open door — a door adjar; slanting ropes — ropes aslant; a vigilant man

— a man awake; similar cases — cases alike; an excited crowd

— a crowd astir.

It goes without saying that many other adjectives and participles convey the meanings of various states irrespective of their analogy with statives. Cf. such words of the order of psychic state as despondent, curious, happy, joyful; such words of the order of human physical state as sound, refreshed, healthy, hungry; such words of the order of activity state as busy, functioning, active, employed, etc.

Second, turning to the combinability characteristics of statives, we see that, though differing from those of the common adjectives in one point negatively, they basically coincide with them in the other points. As a matter of fact, statives are not used in attributive pre-position, but, like adjectives, they are distinguished by the left-hand categorial combinability both with nouns and link-verbs. Cf.:

14—1499 209


The household was all astir. ----- The household was all excited It was strange to see the household astir at this hour of the day.---------------- It was strange to see the household active at this hour of the day.

Third, analysing the functions of the stative corresponding to its combinability patterns, we see that essentially they do not differ from the functions of the common adjective. Namely, the two basic functions of the stative are the predicative and the attribute. The similarity of functions leads to the possibility of the use of a stative and a common adjective in a homogeneous group. E.g.: Launches and barges moored to the dock were ablaze and loud with wild sound.

True, the predominant function of the stative, as different from the common adjective, is that of the predicative. But then, the important structural and functional peculiarities of statives uniting them in a distinctly separate set of lexemes cannot be disputed. What is disputed is the status of this set in relation to the notional parts of speech, not its existence or identification as such.

Fourth, from our point of view, it would not be quite consistent with the actual lingual data to place the stative strictly out of the category of comparison. As we have shown above, the category of comparison is connected with the functional division of adjectives into evaluative and specificative. Like common adjectives, statives are subject to this flexible division, and so in principle they are included into the expression of the quantitative estimation of the corresponding properties conveyed by them. True, statives do not take the synthetical forms of the degrees of comparison, but they are capable of expressing comparison analytically, in cases where it is to be expressed. Cf.:

Of us all, Jack was the one most aware of the delicate situation in which we found ourselves. I saw that the adjusting lever stood far more askew than was allowed by the directions.

Fifth, quantitative considerations, though being a subsidiary factor of reasoning, tend to support the conjoint part-of-speech interpretation of statives and common adjectives. Indeed, the total number of statives does not exceed several dozen (a couple of dozen basic, "stable" units and, probably,


thrice as many "unstable" words of the nature of coinages for the nonce (Жигадло, Иванова, Иофик, 170]). This number is negligible in comparison with the number of words of the otherwise identified notional parts of speech, each of them counting thousands of units. Why, then, an honour of the part-of-speech status to be granted to a small group of words not differing in their fundamental lexico-grammatical features from one of the established large word-classes?

As for the set-forming prefix a-, it hardly deserves a serious consideration as a formal basis of the part-of-speech identification of statives simply because formal features cannot be taken in isolation from functional features. Moreover, as is known, there are words of property not distinguished by this prefix, which display essential functional characteristics inherent in the stative set. In particular, here belong such adjectives as ill, well, glad, sorry, worth {while), subject (to), due (to), underway, and some others. On the other hand, among the basic statives we find such as can hardly be analysed into a genuine combination of the type "prefix+root", because their morphemic parts have become fused into one indivisible unit in the course of language history, e.g. aware, afraid, aloof.

Thus, the undertaken semantic and functional analysis shows that statives, though forming a unified set of words, do not constitute a separate lexemic class existing in language on exactly the same footing as the noun, the verb, the adjective, the adverb; rather it should be looked upon as a subclass within the general class of adjectives. It is essentially an adjectival subclass, because, due to their peculiar features, statives are not directly opposed to the notional parts of speech taken together, but are quite particularly opposed to the rest of adjectives. It means that the general subcategorisation of the class of adjectives should be effected on the two levels: on the upper level the class will be divided into the subclass of stative adjectives and common adjectives; on the lower level the common adjectives fall into qualitative and relative, which division has been discussed in the foregoing paragraph.

As we see, our final conclusion about the lexico-grammatical nature of statives appears to have returned them into the lexemic domain in which they were placed by traditional grammar and from which they were alienated in the course of subsequent linguistic investigations. A question then arises, whether these investigations, as well as the discussions


accompanying thorn, have served any rational purpose at all.

The answer to this question, though, can only be given in the energetic affirmative. Indeed, all the detailed studies of statives undertaken by quite a few scholars, all the discussions concerning their systemic location and other related matters have produced very useful results, both theoretical and practical.

The traditional view of the stative was not supported by any special analysis, it was formed on the grounds of mere surface analogies and outer correlations. The later study of statives resulted in the exposition of their inner properties, in the discovery of their historical productivity as a subclass, in their systemic description on the lines of competent inter-class and inter-level comparisons. And it is due to the undertaken investigations (which certainly will be continued) that we are now in a position, though having rejected the fundamental separation of the stative from the adjective, to name the subclass of statives as one of the peculiar, idiomatic lexemic features of Modern English.

§ 4. As is widely known, adjectives display the ability to be easily substantivised by conversion, i.e. by zero-derivation. Among the noun-converted adjectives we find both old units, well-established in the system of lexicon, and also new ones, whose adjectival etymology conveys to the lexeme the vivid colouring of a new coinage.

For instance, the words a relative or a white or a dear bear an unquestionable mark of established tradition, while such a noun as a sensitive used in the following sentence features a distinct flavour of purposeful conversion: He was a regional man, a man who wrote about sensitives who live away from the places where things happen (M. Bradbury).

Compare this with the noun a high in the following example: The weather report promises a new high in heat and humidity (Ibid.).

From the purely categorial point of view, however, there is no difference between the adjectives cited in the examples and the ones given in the foregoing enumeration, since both groups equally express constitutive categories of the noun, i.e. the number, the case, the gender, the article determination, and they likewise equally perform normal nounal functions.

On the other hand, among the substantivised adjectives


there is a set characterised by hybrid lexico-grammatical features, as in the following examples:

The new bill concerning the wage-freeze introduced by the Labour Government cannot satisfy either the poor, or the rich (Radio Broadcast). A monster. The word conveyed the ultimate in infamy and debasement inconceivable to one not native to the times (J. Vance). The train, indulging all his English nostalgia for the plushy and the genteel, seemed to him a deceit (M. Bradbury).

The mixed categorial nature of the exemplified words is evident from their incomplete presentation of the part-of speech characteristics of either nouns or adjectives. Like nouns, the words are used in the article form; like nouns, they express the category of number (in a relational way); but their article and number forms are rigid, being no subject to the regular structural change inherent in the normal expression of these categories. Moreover, being categorially unchangeable, the words convey the mixed adjectival-nounal semantics of property.

The adjectival-nounal words in question are very specific. They are distinguished by a high productivity and, like statives, are idiomatically characteristic of Modern English.

On the analogy of verbids these words might be called "adjectivids", since they are rather nounal forms of adjectives than nouns as such.

The adjectivids fall into two main grammatical subgroups, namely, the subgroup pluralia tantum (the English, the rich, the unemployed, the uninitiated, etc.), and the subgroup singularia tantum (the invisible, the abstract, the tangible, etc.). Semantically, the words of the first subgroup express sets of people (personal multitudes), while the words of the second group express abstract ideas of various types and connotations.

§ 5. The category of adjectival comparison expresses the quantitative characteristic of the quality of a nounal referent, i.e. it gives a relative evaluation of the quantity of a quality. The purely relative nature of the categorial semantics of comparison is reflected in its name.

The category is constituted by the opposition of the three forms known under the heading of degrees of comparison; the basic form (positive degree), having no features of


comparison; the comparative degree form, having the feature of restricted superiority (which limits the comparison to two elements only); the superlative degree form, having the feature of unrestricted superiority.

It should be noted that the meaning of unrestricted superiority is in-built in the superlative degree as such, though in practice this form is used in collocations imposing certain restrictions on the effected comparison; thus, the form in question may be used to signify restricted superiority, namely, in cases where a limited number of referents are compared. Cf.: Johnny was the strongest boy in the company.

As is evident from the example, superiority restriction is shown here not by the native meaning of the superlative, but by the particular contextual construction of comparison where the physical strength of one boy is estimated in relation to that of his companions.

Some linguists approach the number of the degrees of comparison as problematic on the grounds that the basic form of the adjective does not express any comparison by itself and therefore should be excluded from the category. This exclusion would reduce the category to two members only, i.e. the comparative and superlative degrees.

However, the oppositional interpretation of grammatical categories underlying our considerations does not admit of such an exclusion; on the contrary, the non-expression of superiority by the basic form is understood in the oppositional presentation of comparison as a pre-requisite for the expression of the category as such. In this expression of the category the basic form is the unmarked member, not distinguished by any comparison suffix or comparison auxiliary, while the superiority forms (i.e. the comparative and superlative) are the marked members, distinguished by the comparison suffixes or comparison auxiliaries.

That the basic form as the positive degree of comparison does express this categorial idea, being included in one and the same categorial series with the superiority degrees, is clearly shown by its actual uses in comparative syntactic constructions of equality, as well as comparative syntactic constructions of negated equality. Cf.: The remark was as bitter as could be. The Rockies are not so high as the Caucasus.

These constructions are directly correlative with comparative constructions of inequality built around the comparative and superlative degree forms. Cf.: That was the bitterest


remark I have ever heard from the man. The Caucasus is higher than the Rockies.

Thus, both formally and semantically, the oppositional basis of the category of comparison displays a binary nature. In terms of the three degrees of comparison, on the upper level of presentation the superiority degrees as the marked member of the opposition are contrasted against the positive degree as its unmarked member. The superiority degrees, in their turn, form the opposition of the lower level of presentation, where the comparative degree features the functionally weak member, and the superlative degree, respectively, the strong member. The whole of the double oppositional unity, considered from the semantic angle, constitutes a gradual ternary opposition.

§6. The synthetical forms of comparison in -er and -(e)st coexist with the analytical forms of comparison effected by the auxiliaries more and most. The analytical forms of comparison perform a double function. On the one hand, they are used with the evaluative adjectives that, due to their phonemic structure (two-syllable words with the stress on the first syllable ending in other grapho-phonemic complexes than -er, -y, -le, -ow or words of more than two-syllable composition) cannot normally take the synthetical forms of comparison. In this respect, the analytical comparison forms are in categorial complementary distribution with the synthetical comparison forms. On the other hand, the analytical forms of comparison, as different from the synthetical forms, are used to express emphasis, thus complementing the synthetical forms in the sphere of this important stylistic connotation. Cf.: The audience became more and more noisy, and soon the speaker's words were drowned in the general hum of voices.

The structure of the analytical degrees of comparison is meaningfully overt; these forms are devoid of the feature of "semantic idiomatism" characteristic of some other categorial analytical forms, such as, for instance, the forms of the verbal perfect. For this reason the analytical degrees of comparison invite some linguists to call in question their claim to a categorial status in English grammar.

In particular, scholars point out the following two factors in support of the view that the combinations of more/most with the basic form of the adjective are not the analytical


expressions of the morphological category of comparison, but free syntactic constructions: first, the more/most-combinations are semantically analogous to combinations of less/least with the adjective which, in the general opinion, are syntactic combinations of notional words; second, the most-combination, unlike the synthetic superlative, can take the indefinite article, expressing not the superlative, but the elative meaning (i.e. a high, not the highest degree of the respective quality).

The reasons advanced, though claiming to be based on an analysis of actual lingual data, can hardly be called convincing as regards their immediate negative purpose.

Let us first consider the use of the most-combination with the indefinite article.

This combination is a common means of expressing elative evaluations of substance properties. The function of the elative most-construction in distinction to the function of the superlative most-construction will be seen from the following examples:

The speaker launched a most significant personal attack on the Prime Minister. The most significant of the arguments in a dispute is not necessarily the most spectacular one.

While the phrase "a most significant (personal) attack" in the first of the two examples gives the idea of rather a high degree of the quality expressed irrespective of any directly introduced or implied comparison with other attacks on the Prime Minister, the phrase "the most significant of the arguments" expresses exactly the superlative degree of the quality in relation to the immediately introduced comparison with all the rest of the arguments in a dispute; the same holds true of the phrase "the most spectacular one". It is this exclusion of the outwardly superlative adjective from a comparison that makes it into a simple elative, with its most-constituent turned from the superlative auxiliary into a kind of a lexical intensifier.

The definite article with the elative most-construction is also possible, if leaving the elative function less distinctly recognisable (in oral speech the elative most is commonly left unstressed, the absence of stress serving as a negative mark of the elative). Cf.: I found myself in the most awkward situation, for I couldn't give a satisfactory answer to any question asked by the visitors.

Now, the synthetical superlative degree, as is known,


can be used in the elative function as well, the distinguishing feature of the latter being its exclusion from a comparison. Cf.:

Unfortunately, our cooperation with Danny proved the worst experience for both of us. No doubt Mr. Snider will show you his collection of minerals with the greatest pleasure.

And this fact gives us a clue for understanding the expressive nature of the elative superlative as such — the nature that provides it with a permanent grammatico-stylistic status in the language. Indeed, the expressive peculiarity of the form consists exactly in the immediate combination of the two features which outwardly contradict each other: the categorial form of the superlative on the one hand, and the absence of a comparison on the other.

That the categorial form of the superlative (i.e. the superlative with its general functional specification) is essential also for the expression of the elative semantics can, however paradoxical it might appear, be very well illustrated by the elative use of the comparative degree. Indeed, the comparative combination featuring the elative comparative degree is constructed in such a way as to place it in the functional position of unrestricted superiority, i.e. in the position specifically characteristic of the superlative. E.g.:

Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to greet you as our guest of honour. There is nothing more refreshing than a good swim.

The parallelism of functions between the two forms of comparison (the comparative degree and the superlative degree) in such and like examples is unquestionable.

As we see, the elative superlative, though it is not the regular superlative in the grammatical sense, is still a kind of a specific, grammatically featured construction. This grammatical specification distinguishes it from common elative constructions which may be generally defined as syntactic combinations of an intensely high estimation. E.g.: an extremely important amendment; a matter of exceeding urgency; quite an unparalleled beauty; etc.

Thus, from a grammatical point of view, the elative superlative, though semantically it is "elevated", is nothing else but a degraded superlative, and its distinct featuring mark with the analytical superlative degree is the indefinite


article: the two forms of the superlative of different functional purposes receive the two different marks (if not quite rigorously separated in actual uses) by the article determination treatment.

It follows from the above that the possibility of the most-combination to be used with the indefinite article cannot in any way be demonstrative of its non-grammatical character, since the functions of the two superlative combinations in question, the elative superlative and the genuine superlative, are different.

Moreover, the use of the indefinite article with the synthetical superlative in the degraded, elative function is not altogether impossible, though somehow such a possibility is bluntly denied by certain grammatical manuals. Cf.: He made a last lame effort to delay the experiment; but Basil was impervious to suggestion (J. Vance).

But there is one more possibility to formally differentiate the direct and elative functions of the synthetical superlative, namely, by using the zero article with the superlative. This latter possibility is noted in some grammar books [Ganshina, Vasilevskaya, 85]. Cf.: Suddenly I was seised with a sensation of deepest regret.

However, the general tendency of expressing the superlative elative meaning is by using the analytical form. Incidentally, in the Russian language the tendency of usage is reverse: it is the synthetical form of the Russian superlative that is preferred in rendering the elative function. Cf.: слушали с живейшим интересом; повторялась скучнейшая история; попал в глупейшее положение и т.д.

§ 7. Let us examine now the combinations of less/least with the basic form of the adjective.

As is well known, the general view of these combinations definitely excludes them from any connection with categorial analytical forms. Strangely enough, this rejectionist view of the "negative degrees of comparison" is even taken to support, not to reject the morphological interpretation of the more/most-combinations.

The corresponding argument in favour of the rejectionist interpretation consists in pointing out the functional parallelism existing between the synthetical degrees of comparison and the more/most-combinations accompanied by their complementary distribution, if not rigorously pronounced (the different choice of the forms by different syllabic-phonetical


forms of adjectives). The less/least-combinations, according to this view, are absolutely incompatible with the synthetical degrees of comparison, since they express not only different, but opposite meanings [Khaimovich, Rogovskaya, 77-78].

Now, it does not require a profound analysis to see that, from the grammatical point of view, the formula "opposite meaning" amounts to ascertaining the categorial equality of the forms compared. Indeed, if two forms express the opposite meanings, then they can only belong to units of the same general order. And we cannot but agree with B. A. Ilyish's thesis that "there seems to be no sufficient reason for treating the two sets of phrases in different ways, saying that 'more difficult' is an analytical form, while 'less difficult' is not" [Ilyish, 60]. True, the cited author takes this fact rather as demonstration that both types of constructions should equally be excluded from the domain of analytical forms, but the problem of the categorial status of the more/most-combinations has been analysed above.

Thus, the less/least-combinations, similar to the morel most-combinations, constitute specific forms of comparison, which may be called forms of "reverse comparison". The two types of forms cannot be syntagmatically combined in one and the same form of the word, which shows the unity of the category of comparison. The whole category includes not three, but five different forms, making up the two series — respectively, direct and reverse. Of these, the reverse series of comparison (the reverse superiority degrees) is of far lesser importance than the direct one, which evidently can be explained by semantic reasons. As a matter of fact, it is more natural to follow the direct model of comparison based on the principle of addition of qualitative quantities than on the reverse model of comparison based on the principle of subtraction of qualitative quantities, since subtraction in general is a far more abstract process of mental activity than addition. And, probably, exactly for the same reason the reverse comparatives and superlatives are rivalled in speech by the corresponding negative syntactic constructions.

§ 8. Having considered the characteristics of the category of comparison, we can see more clearly the relation to this category of some usually non-comparable evaluative adjectives.

Outside the immediate comparative grammatical change


of the adjective stand such evaluative adjectives as contain certain comparative sememic elements in their semantic structures. In particular, as we have mentioned above, here belong adjectives that are themselves grading marks of evaluation. Another group of evaluative non-comparables is formed by adjectives of indefinitely moderated quality, or, tentatively, "moderating qualifiers", such as whitish, tepid, half-ironical, semi-detached, etc. But the most peculiar lexemic group of non-comparables is made up by adjectives expressing the highest degree of a respective quality, which words can tentatively be called "adjectives of extreme quality", or "extreme qualifiers", or simply "extremals".

The inherent superlative semantics of extremals is emphasised by the definite article normally introducing their nounal combinations, exactly similar to the definite article used with regular collocations of the superlative degree. Cf.: The ultimate outcome of the talks was encouraging. The final decision has not yet been made public.

On the other hand, due to the tendency of colloquial speech to contrastive variation, such extreme qualifiers can sometimes be modified by intensifying elements. Thus, "the final decision" becomes "a very final decision"; "the ultimate rejection" turns into "rather an ultimate rejection"; "the crucial role" is made into "quite a crucial role", etc. As a result of this kind of modification, the highest grade evaluative force of these words is not strengthened, but, on the contrary, weakened; the outwardly extreme qualifiers become degraded extreme qualifiers, even in this status similar to the regular categorial superlatives degraded in their elative use.

CHAPTER XIX ADVERB

§ 1. The adverb is usually defined as a word expressing either property of an action, or property of another property, or circumstances in which an action occurs. This definition, though certainly informative and instructive, fails to directly point out the relation between the adverb and the adjective as the primary qualifying part of speech.

In an attempt to overcome this drawback, let us define the adverb as a notional word expressing a non-substantive


property, that is, a property of a non-substantive referent. This formula immediately shows the actual correlation between the adverb and the adjective, since the adjective is a word expressing a substantive property.

Properties may be of a more particular, "organic" order, and a more general and detached, "inorganic" order. Of the organic properties, the adverb denotes those characterising processes and other properties. Of the inorganic properties, the adverb denotes various circumstantial characteristics of processes or whole situations built around processes.

The above definition, approaching the adverb as a word of the secondary qualifying order, presents the entire class of adverbial words as the least self-dependent of all the four notional parts of speech. Indeed, as has been repeatedly pointed out, the truly complete nominative value is inherent only in the noun, which is the name of substances. The verb comes next in its self-dependent nominative force, expressing processes as dynamic relations of substances, i.e. their dynamic relational properties in the broad sense. After that follow qualifying parts of speech —• first the adjective denoting qualifications of substances, and then the adverb denoting qualifications of non-substantive phenomena which find themselves within the range of notional signification.

As we see, the adverb is characterised by its own, specific nominative value, providing for its inalienable status in the system of the parts of speech. Hence, the complaints of some linguists that the adverb is not rigorously defined and in fact presents something like a "dump" for those words which have been rejected by other parts of speech can hardly be taken as fully justified. On the other hand, since the adverb does denote qualifications of the second order, not of the first one like the adjective, it includes a great number of semantically weakened words which are in fact intermediate between notional and functional lexemes by their status and often display features of pronominal nature.

§ 2. In accord with their categorial meaning, adverbs are characterised by a combinability with verbs, adjectives and words of adverbial nature. The functions of adverbs in these combinations consist in expressing different adverbial modifiers. Adverbs can also refer to whole situations; in this function they are considered under the heading of situation-"determinants". Cf.:


The woman was crying hysterically. (an adverbial modifier of manner, in left-hand contact combination with the verb-predicate) Wilson looked at him appraisingly. (an adverbial modifier of manner, in left-hand distant combination with the verb-predicate) Without undressing she sat down to the poems, nervously anxious to like them... (an adverbial modifier of property qualification, in right-hand combination with a post-positional stative attribute-adjective) You've gotten awfully brave, awfully suddenly. (an adverbial modifier of intensity, in right-hand combination with an adverb-aspective determinant of the situation) Then he stamps his boots again and advances into the room. (two adverbial determinants of the situation: the first — of time, in right-hand combination with the modified predicative construction; the second — of recurrence, in left-hand combination with the modified predicative construction)

Adverbs can also combine with nouns acquiring in such cases a very peculiar adverbial-attributive function, essentially in post-position, but in some cases also in pre-position. E.g.:

The world today presents a picture radically different from what it was before the Second World War. Our vigil overnight was rewarded by good news: the operation seemed to have succeeded. Franklin D. Roosevelt, the then President of the United States, proclaimed the "New Deal" — a new Government economic policy.

The use of adverbs in outwardly attributive positions in such and like examples appears to be in contradiction with the functional destination of the adverb — a word that is intended to qualify a non-nounal syntactic element by definition.

However, this seeming inconsistence of the theoretical interpretation of adverbs with their actual uses can be clarified and resolved in the light of the syntactic principle of nominalisation elaborated within the framework of the theory of paradigmatic syntax (see further). In accord with this principle, each predicative syntactic construction paradigmatically correlates with a noun-phrase displaying basically the same semantic relations between its notional constituents. A predicative construction can be actually changed into a noun-phrase, by which change the dynamic situation expressed by the predicative construction receives a static


name. Now, adverbs-determinants modifying in constructions of this kind the situation as a whole, are preserved in the corresponding nominalised phrases without a change in their inherent functional status. Cf.:

The world that exists today. → The world today. We kept vigil overnight. →Our vigil overnight. Then he was the President. → The then President.

These paradigmatic transformational correlations explain the type of connection between the noun and its adverbial attribute even in cases where direct transformational changes would not be quite consistent with the concrete contextual features of constructions. What is important here, is the fact that the adverb used to modify a noun actually relates to the whole corresponding situation underlying the nounphrase.

§ 3. In accord with their word-building structure adverbs may be simple and derived.

Simple adverbs are rather few, and nearly all of them display functional semantics, mostly of pronominal character: here, there, now, then, so, quite, why, how, where, when.

The typical adverbial affixes in affixal derivation are, first and foremost, the basic and only productive adverbial suffix -ly (slowly, tiredly, rightly, firstly), and then a couple of others of limited distribution, such as -ways (sideways, crossways), -wise (clockwise), -ward(s) (homewards, seawards, afterwards). The characteristic adverbial prefix is a- (away, ahead, apart, across).

Among the adverbs there are also peculiar composite formations and phrasal formations of prepositional, conjunctional and other types: sometimes, nowhere, anyhow; at least, at most, at last; to and fro; upside down; etc.

Some authors include in the word-building sets of adverbs also formations of the type from outside, till now, before then, etc. However, it is not difficult to see that such formations differ in principle from the ones cited above. The difference consists in the fact that their parts are semantically not blended into an indivisible lexemic unity and present combinations of a preposition with a peculiar adverbial substantive — a word occupying an intermediary lexico-grammatical status between the noun and the adverb. This is most clearly seen on ready examples liberally offered by English texts of every stylistic standing. E. g.:


The pale moon looked at me from above. By now Sophie must have received the letter and very soon we shall hear from her. The departure of the delegation is planned for later this week.

The freely converted adverbial substantives in prepositional collocations belong to one of the idiomatic characteristics of English, and may be likened, with due alteration of details, to partially substantivised adjectives of the adjectivid type (see Ch. XVIII, §4). On this analogy the adverbial substantives in question may be called "adverbids".

Furthermore, there are in English some other peculiar structural types of adverbs which are derivationally connected with the words of non-adverbial lexemic classes by conversion. To these belong both adverbs of full notional value and adverbs of half-notional value.

A peculiar set of converted notional adverbs is formed by adjective-stem conversives, such as fast, late, hard, high, close, loud, tight, etc. The peculiar feature of these adverbs consists in the fact that practically all of them have a parallel form in -ly, the two component units of each pair often differentiated in meaning or connotation. Cf.: to work hard hardly to work at all; to fall flat into the water — to refuse flatly; to speak loud — to criticise loudly; to fly high over the lake — to raise a highly theoretical question; etc.

Among the adjective-stem converted adverbs there are a few words with the non-specific -ly originally in-built in the adjective: daily, weekly, lively, timely, etc.

The purely positional nature of the conversion in question, i.e. its having no support in any differentiated categorial paradigms, can be reflected by the term "fluctuant conversives" which we propose to use as the name of such formations.

As for the fluctuant conversives of weakened pronominal semantics, very characteristic of English are the adverbs that positionally interchange with prepositions and conjunctive words: before, after, round, within, etc. Cf.: never before — never before our meeting; somewhere round round the corner; not to be found within within a minute; etc.

Of quite a different nature are preposition-adverb-like elements which, placed in post-position to the verb, form a semantical blend with it. By combining with these elements, verbs of broader meaning are subjected to a regular, systematic multiplication of their semantic functions.


E. g.: to give — to give up, to give in, to give out, to give away, to give over, etc.; to set — to set up, to set in, to set forth, to set off, to set down, etc.; to get — to get on, to get off, to get up, to get through, to get about, etc.; to work — to work up, to work in, to work out, to work away, to work over, etc.; to bring — to bring about, to bring up, to bring through, to bring forward, to bring down, etc.

The function of these post-positional elements is either to impart an additional aspective meaning to the verb-base, or to introduce a lexical modification to its fundamental semantics. E.g.: to bring about — to cause to happen; to reverse; to bring up — to call attention to; to rear and educate; to bring through — to help overcome a difficulty or danger; to save (a sick person); to bring forward — to introduce for discussion; to carry to the next page (the sum of figures); to bring down — to kill or wound; to destroy; to lower (as prices, etc.).

The lexico-grammatical standing of the elements in question has been interpreted in different ways. Some scholars have treated them as a variety of adverbs (H. Palmer, A. Smirnitsky); others, as preposition-like functional words (I. Anichkov, N. Amosova); still others, as peculiar prefix-like suffixes similar to the German separable prefixes (Y. Zhluktenko); finally, some scholars have treated these words as a special set of lexical elements functionally intermediate between words and morphemes (B. A. Ilyish; B. S. Khaimovich and B. I. Rogovskaya). The cited variety of interpretations, naturally, testifies to the complexity of the problem. Still, we can't fail to see that one fundamental idea is common to all the various theories advanced, and that is, the idea of the functional character of the analysed elements. Proceeding from this idea, we may class these words as a special functional set of particles, i.e. words of semi-morphemic nature, correlative with prepositions and conjunctions.

As for the name to be given to the words for their descriptive identification, out of the variety of the ones already existing ("postpositions", "adverbial word-morphemes", "adverbial postpositions", etc.) we would prefer the term "post-positives" introduced by N. Amosova. While evading the confusion with classical "postpositions" developed in some languages of non-Indo-European types (i.e. post-nounal analogues of prepositions), this term is fairly convenient for descriptive purposes and at the same time is neutral categorially, i.e. it easily admits of additional specifications of

15—1499 225


the nature of the units in question in the course of their further linguistic study.

§ 4. Adverbs are commonly divided into qualitative, quantitative and circumstantial.

By qualitative such adverbs are meant as express immediate, inherently non-graded qualities of actions and other qualities. The typical adverbs of this kind are qualitative adverbs in -ly. E. g.:

The little boy was crying bitterly over his broken toy. The plainly embarrassed Department of Industry confirmed the fact of the controversial deal.

The adverbs interpreted as "quantitative" include words of degree. These are specific lexical units of semi-functional nature expressing quality measure, or gradational evaluation of qualities. They may be subdivided into several very clearly pronounced sets.

The first set is formed by adverbs of high degree. These adverbs are sometimes classed as "intensifiers": very, quite, entirely, utterly, highly, greatly, perfectly, absolutely, strongly, considerably, pretty, much. The second set includes adverbs of excessive degree (direct and reverse) also belonging to the broader subclass of intensifiers: too, awfully, tremendously, dreadfully, terrifically. The third set is made up of adverbs of unexpected degree: surprisingly, astonishingly, amazingly. The fourth set is formed by adverbs of moderate degree: fairly, comparatively, relatively, moderately, rather. The fifth set includes adverbs of low degree: slightly, a little, a bit. The sixth set is constituted by adverbs of approximate degree: almost, nearly. The seventh set includes adverbs of optimal degree: enough, sufficiently, adequately. The eighth set is formed by adverbs of inadequate degree: insufficiently, intolerably, unbearably, ridiculously. The ninth set is made up of adverbs of under-degree: hardly, scarcely.

As we see, the degree adverbs, though usually described under the heading of "quantitative", in reality constitute a specific variety of qualitative words, or rather some sort of intermediate qualitative-quantitative words, in so far as they are used as quality evaluators. In this function they are distinctly different from genuine quantitative adverbs which are directly related to numerals and thereby form sets of words of pronominal order. Such are numerical-pronominal


adverbs like twice, thrice, four times, etc.; twofold, threefold, many fold, etc.

Thus, we will agree that the first general subclass of adverbs is formed by qualitative adverbs which are subdivided into qualitative adverbs of full notional value and degree adverbs — specific functional words.

Circumstantial adverbs are also divided into notional and functional.

The functional circumstantial adverbs are words of pronominal nature. Besides quantitative (numerical) adverbs mentioned above, they include adverbs of time, place, manner, cause, consequence. Many of these words are used as syntactic connectives and question-forming functionals. Here belong such words as now, here, when, where, so, thus, how, why, etc.

As for circumstantial adverbs of more self-dependent nature, they include two basic sets: first, adverbs of time; second, adverbs of place: today, tomorrow, already, ever, never, shortly, recently, seldom, early, late; homeward, eastward, near, far, outside, ashore, etc. The two varieties express a general idea of temporal and spatial orientation and essentially perform deictic (indicative) functions in the broader sense. Bearing this in mind, we may unite them under the general heading of "orientative" adverbs, reserving the term "circumstantial" to syntactic analysis of utterances.

Thus, the whole class of adverbs will be divided, first, into nominal and pronominal, and the nominal adverbs will be subdivided into qualitative and orientative, the former including genuine qualitative adverbs and degree adverbs, the latter falling into temporal and local adverbs, with further possible subdivisions of more detailed specifications.

As is the case with adjectives, this lexemic subcategorisation of adverbs should be accompanied by a more functional and flexible division into evaluative and specificative, connected with the categorial expression of comparison. Each adverb subject to evaluation grading by degree words expresses the category of comparison, much in the same way as, mutatis mutandis, adjectives do. Thus, not only qualitative, but also orientative adverbs, providing they come under the heading of evaluative, are included into the categorial system of comparison. Cf.: quickly — quicker — quickest — less quickly — least quickly; frequently — more frequently — most frequently — less frequently — least

15* 227


frequently; ashore — more ashore — most ashore — less ashore — least ashore, etc.

Barring the question of the uses of articles in comparative — superlative collocations, all the problems connected with the adjectival degrees of comparison retain their force for the adverbial degrees of comparison, including the problem of elative superlative.

§ 5. Among the various types of adverbs, those formed from adjectives by means of the suffix -ly occupy the most representative place and pose a special problem.

The problem is introduced by the very regularity of their derivation, the rule of which can be formulated quite simply: each qualitative adjective has a parallel adverb in -ly. E. g.: silent — silently, slow — slowly, tolerable — tolerably, pious — piously, sufficient — sufficiently, tired — tiredly, explosive — explosively, etc.

This regularity of formation accompanied by the general qualitative character of semantics gave cause to A. I. Smirnitsky to advance the view that both sets of words belong to the same part of speech, the qualitative adverbs in -ly being in fact adjectives of specific combinability [Смирницкий, (2), 174-175].

The strong point of the adjectival interpretation of qualitative adverbs in -ly is the demonstration of the actual similarity between the two lexemic sets in their broader evaluative function, which fact provides for the near-identity of the adjectival and adverbial grammatical categories of comparison. On the whole, however, the theory in question is hardly acceptable for the mere reason that derivative relations in general are not at all relations of lexico-grammatical identity; for that matter, they are rather relations of non-identity, since they actually constitute a system of production of one type of lexical units from another type of lexical units. As for the types of units belonging to the same or different lexemic classes, this is a question of their actual status in the system of lexicon, i. e. in the lexemic paradigm of nomination reflecting the fundamental correlations between the lexemic sets of language (see Ch. IV, § 8). Since the English lexicon does distinguish adjectives and adverbs; since adjectives are substantive-qualifying words in distinction to adverbs, which are non-substantive qualifying words; since, finally, adverbs in -ly do preserve this fundamental nonsubstantive-qualification character — there can't be any


question of their being "adjectives" in any rationally conceivable way. As for the regularity or irregularity of derivation, it is absolutely irrelevant to the identification of their class-lexemic nature.

Thus, the whole problem is not a problem of part-of-speech identity; it is a problem of inter-class connections, in particular, of inter-class systemic division of functions, and, certainly, of the correlative st






Дата добавления: 2016-09-26; просмотров: 1434; ЗАКАЗАТЬ НАПИСАНИЕ РАБОТЫ


Поиск по сайту:

Воспользовавшись поиском можно найти нужную информацию на сайте.

Поделитесь с друзьями:

Считаете данную информацию полезной, тогда расскажите друзьям в соц. сетях.
Poznayka.org - Познайка.Орг - 2016-2021 год. Материал предоставляется для ознакомительных и учебных целей.
Генерация страницы за: 0.107 сек.