Adjectives without Nouns

by David Gil

4 Responses to “Adjectives without Nouns”

  1. Daniel Vasarhelyi Says:

    In Hungarian adjectives are never marked for case when the NP contains a nominal head but case marking is obligatory when there is no noun in the phrase:

    Lát-tam egy piros rózsá-t.
    See-1SGPast a red rose-ACC. I saw a red rose.

    Lát-tam egy piros-at.
    See-1SGPast a red-ACC. I saw a red one.


    Lát-tam egy-et.
    See-1SGPast a-ACC. I saw one.

    So it is marked on the adjective whether the np contains a noun or not.

  2. Daniel N. Says:

    In Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian, adjectives can be used without nouns, without any special marking, EXCEPT in the dative/locative/instrumental plural, where they get a slightly different case ending.

    Reference: I’m a native speaker.

  3. Greg P Says:

    I’m puzzled by the classification. In the languages I know:

    Mandarin: ‘hóng de’ consists of adj plus particle ‘de’

    Japanese: ‘akai no’ consists of adj plus particle/postposition ‘no’

    Mongolian: ‘ulaan n” consists of adj plus particle ‘n”.

    Other behaviour is different. For example, Japanese ‘akai no’ in the accusative (object of verb) is ‘akai no o’. Mongolian is ‘ulaaniig n” (case before particle). Chinese ‘hóng de’ can occur with ‘bǎ’ (’bǎ hóng de’), which is preposed but resembles an accusative. The classification here seems divorced from linguistic reality, presumably based on what constitutes ‘a word’. The fact that Mandarin ‘de’ (for instance) is classed as a ‘word’ by some shouldn’t result in such a disparate classification.

  4. Andrei Dumitrescu Says:

    Shouldn’t the translation of the Kolyma Yukaghir example (4) be ‘I want to eat the white one.’?

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