positioning of 'property concepts' in the NP

Åshild Næss ashildn at GMAIL.COM
Tue Mar 30 05:58:36 UTC 2010

Dear Fritz,

in Äiwoo, one of the recently reclassified Reefs-Santa Cruz languages of the
eastern Solomon Islands (now considered to be Oceanic), the usual way of
modifying a noun is with a verb, with or without the nominalising prefix *mi
*- (the difference seems to be to do with whether the property in question
is intended to uniquely identify the noun or just describe it); the
modifying verb always follows the noun: *betepu (mi)laki* 'a small basket'.
*Laki* 'small' in other contexts can take e.g. tense-aspect-mood morphology
and clearly behaves like a verb.

However, I've identified two lexemes to date which function as prenominal
modifiers and don't take verbal morphology: *nuwola* 'old' and
*nyibängä*'big, huge', e.g.
*nuwola nupwää nugu* 'my old clothes', *nyibängä täpilo* 'a big bowl'. There
may be more of these in the language that I haven't discovered yet.


Åshild Næss

On Mon, Mar 29, 2010 at 9:56 PM, Frederick J Newmeyer
<fjn at u.washington.edu>wrote:

> Dear all,
> I wonder if I might deflect the discussion from academic publishing for a
> moment. I am looking for an example of a language manifesting something very
> specific -- a language which might or might not exist:
> 1. In this language 'property concepts' (to use a neutral term) are encoded
> in part by a distinct category 'Adjective' and also by what are
> uncontroversially Nouns or Verbs in terms of their catgeory assignments.
> 2. In this language, within the Noun Phrase, Adjective modifiers of the
> Noun appear on one side of the Noun that they modify, whereas Noun or Verb
> modifiers appear on the opposite side of the Noun that they modify.
> Does anybody know an example of such a language?
> Thanks!
> --fritz
> Frederick J. Newmeyer
> Professor Emeritus, University of Washington
> Adjunct Professor, University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser
> University
> [for my postal address, please contact me by e-mail]
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