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An adjective is a word which expresses the attributes of substances (good, young, easy, soft, loud, hard, wooden, flaxen). As a class of lexical words adjectives are identified by their ability to fill the position between noun-determiner and noun and the position after a copula-verb and a qualifier.

Considered in meaning, adjectives fall into two large groups:

a) qualitative adjectives,

b) relative adjectives.

Qualitative adjectives denote qualities of size, shape, colour, etc. which an object may possess in various degrees. Qualitative adjectives have degrees of comparison.

Relative adjectives express qualities which characterise an object through its relation to another object; wooden tablestables made of wood, woollen glovesgloves made of wool, Siberian wheat → wheat from Siberia. Further examples of relative adjectives are: rural, industrial, urban, etc.

Linguistically it is utterly impossible to draw a rigid line of demarcation between the two classes, for in the course of language development the so-called relative adjectives gradually develop qualitative meanings. Thus, for instance, through metaphoric extension adjectives denoting material have come to be used in the figurative sense, e. g.: golden age золотий вік, golden hours щасливий час, golden mean золота середина, golden opportunity чудова нагода, golden hair золотаве волосся, etc. Compare also: wooden chair and wooden face, wooden manners; flaxen threads and flaxen hair.

The adjective leaden — made of lead is often used with special allusion to its qualities. Cf. a leaden plate and a leaden sleep, leaden atmosphere, leaden sky. Through metaphoric extension leaden has also come to mean " low in quality", " cheap", " heavy" or " dull" inaction, in feeling, understanding, etc. synonymous with sluggish млявий. Analogous developments may easily be found in other languages.

It seems practical to distinguish between base adjectives and derived adjectives 1.

Base adjectives exhibit the following formal qualities: they may take inflections -er and -est or have some morphophonemic changes in

1 See: W. N. Francis. The Structure of American English. New York, 1958, p. 270.

cases of the suppletion, such as, for instance, in goodbetterthe best; badworsethe worst. Base adjectives are also distinguished formally by the fact that they serve as stems from which nouns and adverbs are formed by the derivational suffixes -ness and -ly.

Base adjectives are mostly of one syllable, and none have more than two syllables except a few that begin with a derivational prefix un- or in-, e. g.: uncommon, inhuman, etc. They have no derivational suffixes and usually form their comparative and superlative degrees by means of the inflectional suffixes -er and -est. Quite a number of based adjectives form verbs by adding the derivational suffix -en, the prefix en- or both: blacken, brighten, cheapen, sweeten, widen, enrich, enlarge, embitter, enlighten, enliven, etc.

Derived adjectives are formed by the addition of derivational suffixes to free or bound stems. They usually form analytical comparatives and superlatives by means of the qualifiers more and most. Some of the more important suffixes which form derived adjectives are:

-able added to verbs and bound stems, denoting quality with implication of capacity, fitness or worthness to be acted upon; -able is often used in the sense of " tending to", " given to", " favouring", " causing", " able to" or " liable to". This very common suffix is a live one which can be added to virtually any verb thus giving rise to many new coinages. As it is the descendant of an active derivational suffix in Latin, it also appears as a part of many words borrowed from Latin and French. Examples formed from verbs: remarkable, adaptable, conceivable, drinkable, eatable, regrettable, understandable, etc.; examples formed from bound stems: capable, portable, viable. The unproductive variant of the suffix -able is the suffix -ible (Latin -ibilis, -bilis), which we find in adjectives Latin in origin: visible, forcible, comprehensible, etc.; -ible is no longer used in the formation of new words.

-al, -ial (Lat. -alls, French -al, -el) denoting quality " belonging to", " pertaining to", " having the character of", " appropriate to", e. g.: elemental, bacterial, automnal, fundamental, etc.

The suffix -al added to nouns and bound stems (fatal, local, natural, national, traditional, etc.) is often found in combination with -ic, e. g.: biological, botanical, juridical, typical, etc.

-ish —Germanic in origin, denoting nationality, quality with the meaning " of the nature of", " belonging to", " resembling" also with the sense " somewhat like", often implying contempt, derogatory in force, e. g.: Turkish, bogish, outlandish, whitish, wolfish.

-y — Germanic in origin, denoting quality " pertaining to", " abounding in", " tending or inclined to", e.g.: rocky, watery, bushy, milky, sunny, etc.

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