Adjective, it's types and categories — страница 5

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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. However, 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. 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, emphasizes the fact that the morphological category of comparison (comparison degrees) is potentially represented in the whole class of adjectives and is constitutive for it. Among the words signifying properties of a neural referent there is a lexemic set which claims to be recognized 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. The only morphological problem concerning adjectives is, then, that of degrees of comparison. The first question which arises here is, how many degrees of comparison has the English adjective (and, for that matter, the adjective in other languages, such as