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The problem of adjectives in Modern English

Автор: Душенок Марина Сергеевна, специалист, Национальный Технический Университет Украины «КиевскийПолитехническийИнститут»

Introduction:
Topicality: according to their morphological characteristics, meaning and syntactical functions, adjectives are detached as individual part of speech. They are characterized by a general grammatical meaning that is expressed in certain grammatical markers. In grammar it is considered as isolated group with its own material shape and grammatical meaning. Although adjectives are depended on the noun, as it is one of the main sentence elements. That is because adjectives denote properties of the noun by means of predicative or attributive relations. In addition, the word (particularly being initially specified as adjective) in English language can belong to other classes of speech without changing its form within different contexts. The class of adjective is large and can accept new members (open class). The problem of adjective was studied by such distinguishedscholars as B.A. Ilyish, L.S. Barkhudarov, M.Y. Bloch, N.M. Rayevska, A.I. Smirnitsky, B.S.Khamovish, B.I. Rogovska, L.V. Shcherba etc.

Definition of the notion of adjectives:
Parts of speech classification has its long history. Henry Sweet was the first scholar who has created the classification worth of attention. This approach can be defined as functional.[5; 71].
The approach isrepresented by the Chart 1.


Thereby, we shall state that adjectives are nominative part of speech.
In grammar, an adjective is a "describing” word, the main syntactic role of which, is to qualify a noun or noun phrase, giving more information about the object signified. [7].
According to CollinsDictionary, adjective is a word imputing a characteristic to a noun or pronoun.[6].
The adjective expresses the categorial semantics of substance property. It means that each adjective used in the text presupposes relation to some noun the property of whose referent it denotes, such as its material, colour, dimensions, position, state, and other characteristics both permanent and temporary. It follows from this that, unlike nouns, adjectives do not possess a full nominative value. Indeed, words like long, hospitable, fragrant cannot effect any self-dependent nominations; as units of informative sequences they exist only in collocations showing what is long, who is hospitable, what is fragrant.[4; 203].
So, adjectives are distinguished by a specific combinability with nouns, which they modify. In Modern English they are classified as nominate part of speech.

Morphemic structure of the adjectives:
I. Alexeyeva has divided adjectives into base and derived.[3; 54-55]. Their determinativepeculiarityisrepresented at Chart 2.


Thus, adjectives are of two types: base and derived. They have their own markers and differ in forming the degree of comparison.

Grammatical meaning of the adjectives:
According to I. Alexeyeva, the adjective is a part of speech with the categorial meaning of a relatively permanent property of a substance: a beautiful city. The adjective denotes a property that does not evolve in time and it is this static character that is meant under the notion of relative permanence: cf. high quality and improved quality. [3; 53].
Adjectives express a quality property that may be objectified, in which case a noun is derived from adjective by means of the suffixes -ness, -ity etc. (e.g. certainly, roughness). If an adjective expresses some relation, i.e. some relative quality, it is as a rule derived from a noun by means of the suffixes -y, -al, -ous, -ly, -en (e.g. rain – rainy, week – weekly).
According to their properties, Kaushanskadivides adjectives into qualitativeand relative.[1; 50]. This division is represented by the Chart 3.


M. Bloch and I. Alexeyeva also sharesKaushanska's opinion.
Besides the division into the qualitative and relative classes, some grammars distinguish also a class of quantitative adjectives: e.g. numerous, enormous, much, many, little, few. However, the status of much, many, little, few remains disputable. On the one hand, these words are morphologically close to adjectives, since they have the degrees of comparison. On the other hand, they have much in common with numerals and pronouns. Obviously these words belong to some periphery formed by overlapping areas of these three fields – those of adjectives, numerals, and pronouns.[3; 54].
Thus, adjectives fall under two classes: qualitative adjectives and relative adjectives. But some scholars distinguish also a class of quantitative adjectives.

Grammatical category of the adjectives:
In the course of history, the English adjective has lost all its forms of grammatical agreement with the noun. As a result, degrees of comparison are the only paradigmatic forms of the adjective.
The category is constituted by the opposition of the opposition of the three forms: the basic form (positive degree) that has no features of comparison, the comparative degree form and the superlative degree form. However, some adjectives are not capable of forming the degrees of comparison. As a rule, these "deficient” words belong to the class of relative adjectives though, when used metaphorically, even they may form the degrees of comparison. [3; 55].
The comparative degree denotes a higher degree of a quality.
E.g. She is taller than her sister.
My box is smaller than hers.
The superlative degree denotes the highest degree of a quality.
E.g. She is the tallest of the three sisters.
Her box is the smallest of all our boxes. [1; 48].
The superlative degree of the adjectives implies limitation. Thus the noun modified by an adjective has the definite article.
The formation of degrees of comparison is represented at Chart 4.


According to Kaushanska, polysyllabic adjectives that form their Comparative and superlative degrees inflectionally are represented by the Chart 5.


Also there are some adjectives with irregular forms of degrees of comparison. [8]:
Thus, the only paradigmatic forms of the adjective are those of degrees of comparison.

Conclusion:
Adjectives are distinguished by a specific combinability with nouns, which they modify. In Modern English they are classified as nominate part of speech. There are of two types of adjectives: base and derived. They have their own markers and differ in forming the degree of comparison.
Also adjectives fall under two classes: qualitative adjectives and relative adjectives. But some scholars distinguish also a class of quantitative adjectives.
The only paradigmatic forms of the adjective are those of degrees of comparison.

Literature used:
1. Каушанская В.Л. Грамматика английского языка. – М:Айрис-Пресс, 2008. C.36–37.
2. Харитонов І.К. Теоретична граматика сучасної англійської мови. – Вінниця: Нова Книга, 2008
3. Alexeyeva I.O. Theoretical English Grammar Course. – Vinnytsya: Nova Knyha, 2007. P.53–55.
4. Blokh M.Y. A Course in Theoretical English Grammar. – M., 1983. P.203–207.
5.RayevskaN.M. Modern English Grammar. – K: VyschaSkola Publishers, 1976

References to internet resources
6. Collins Dictionaries:
http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/adjective
7. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Example_of_irregular_adjective
8.Irregular Comparison:
http://www.testden.com/toefl/english-grammar-for-students/Irregular-Comparison.html

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