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Girekian Morphology Part 3: Adjectives
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could be fun, could be confusing
This public article was written by [Deactivated User], and last updated on 5 May 2020, 14:05.

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Menu 1. Introduction 2. Placement 3. Declension 4. Pronunciation
[edit] [top]Introduction

This is the third lesson in  Girekian grammar, All About Adjectives! If you'd like to review the other lessons, there are two previous grammar lessons about Nouns, etc and Verbs, as well as a beginner lesson that introduces the writing system and stress. Future grammar articles will cover interjections, numbers, and derivational morphology, and I'll also be adding syntax articles.

You'll notice in the other articles that  Girekian grammar rules are pretty strict. Adjectives are the most flexible part of speech in the language! Their placement, declension, and pronunciation are all subject to context and even the whim of the speaker.

[edit] [top]Placement

Generally adjectives directly precede the nouns they modify, but it is not at all uncommon to switch the placement for emphasis. For example, the phrase lœ 'ywy means a small dog but 'ywy lœ may mean such a small dog or may even imply a small adorable dog (with certain verbal inflection). It is also common for adjectives to succeed their noun when they are being listed (especially “rambled off”). Therefore it is more natural to say notœ cæf lä ræ huwo qæcæqæ I need a thing [that is] big heavy [and] square rather than notœ cæf ræ huwo qæcæqæ lä I need a big heavy square thing, although both are grammatically correct. The first construction (noun-adjective) assumes that the “thing” and my needing of it is already known, and importance is placed on the description. The second construction (adjective-noun) would prioritize the noun, so in this example it is more important that I need a thing and the description of the thing is secondary. The same concept of switching placement to impart emphasis or emotion also applies. So to describe a man in general one might say re mä biti maryja laki cal he is a smart, handsome, funny man, whereas a person describing a man they had a crush on might say something like cal biti maryja laki… which would translate to something like ...and the man is so smart, and handsome, and funny…

The placement of an adjective may also be switched to show comparison or to change the focus of a sentence. Just saying ræ wå zi lœ 'ywy large cat or small dog would be a random sentence fragment, but ræ wå zi 'ywy lœ would translate to something like either that is quite a large cat or a rather small dog, because the placement of the adjectives implies that they are in contrast to each other. In a sentence like la 'enœ 'ywy ku kymætu xa la 'ywy 'atælœ ku 'iran the white dog is mean but the black dog is nice, the shifting adjective placement ('enœ 'ywy white dog vs 'ywy 'atælœ dog black) complements the conjunction xa but (and in colloquial speech xa might be left out altogether).

[edit] [top]Declension

Adjective declension is based on the class of its noun. The four noun classes are used as prefixes when declining adjectives.

inanimatelower life formshigher life formscelestial and divine

Declension is not required for all adjectives in all situations. Adjectives are actually rarely declined in regular use. Declension is typically only used for clarification or specificity when there are multiple nouns very close together in a sentence and it may be easy to confuse which adjective belongs to which noun. For example, in tizuwi ræ zænocyho it is unclear whether the adjective large is referring to tizuwi bird or zænocyho its tree. It would be better to add a prefix to the adjective to specify either tizuwi kuræ zænocyho a large bird’s tree or tizuwi waræ zænocyho a bird’s large tree.

[edit] [top]Pronunciation

Unlike all other parts of speech, where the correct placement of stress and proper pronunciation of words is vitally important to conveying meaning, adjectives are flexible in both. Adjectives are the only part of speech for which it is not only allowed but often preferred to put stress on affixes, but they may still be stressed “properly”. It is also customary to imply additional passion, intensity, or importance by artificially lengthening an adjective, which may add stress to a previously unstressed word or shift the normal placement of stress. This artificial lengthening is most notable in colloquial speech but not avoided in formal speech. It is also common in written parables and legends, but rare in other written work.

tizuwi kuræ zænocyho
[tizɤwi kʰɤɾɛ zɛno̞ʃɪho̞]
tizuwi kuræ zænocyho
bird-SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
ANADJAnimate adjective (agreement)
head noun is animate
-large tree-SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
.3GENThird person genitive (possessive)
his, her, its, their

a large bird's tree
The inflected adjective would likely be stressed on the first syllable, to further emphasize that the bird is large. This wouldn’t sound too strange considering two-syllable words typically have stress on the first syllable anyway, but grammatically it is not normally correct to stress an affix.

'ywy lœhuwœ
[ʔɪwɪ ləhɤwə]
'ywy huwœ
dog-SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
small-EXTExtremitive (degree)
an adjectival degree, eg. "so big"

an incredibly small dog or an adorably small dog etc
The word lœhuwœ doesn't actually mean anything, and -huwœ is not a standard suffix, it's just a way stretching out the word to imply a certain emphasis or emotion.

låz lä huwo
Normal: [læʉz läɪ hɤwo̞]
låz lä huwo
Emphasized: [læʉz läɪ hɤwo̞::] or [læʉz läɪ hɤwo̞wo̞]
låz lä huwo
e.g. this/ that
thing-SGSingular (number)
one countable entity
heavy-EXTExtremitive (degree)
an adjectival degree, eg. "so big"

that really heavy thing
Placing the adjective after the noun already emphasizes that the thing is heavy. Extending the adjective adds even more emotion, stressing that the thing isn't just heavy but quite heavy.
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