Adjective Classes: A Cross-linguistic Typology

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R.M.W. Dixon, Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald
OUP Oxford, May 11, 2006 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 394 pages
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This book shows that every language has an adjective class and how such classes vary. The opening chapter considers current generalizations about the nature and classification of adjectives and sets out the cross-linguistic parameters of their variation. Thirteen chapters then explore adjective classes in languages from North, Central and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Studies of well-known languages such as Russian, Japanese, Korean and Lao are juxtaposed with the languages of small hunter-gatherer and slash-and-burn agriculturalist groups. All are based on fine-grained field research. The nature and typology of adjective classes is then reconsidered in the conclusion. The authors reveal that the grammatical properties of the adjective class may be similar to nouns or verbs or both or neither; that some languages have two kinds of adjectives, one hard to distinguish from nouns and the other from verbs; and that the adjective class can sometimes be large and open, and in other cases small and closed. The book will interest scholars and advanced students of language typology and of the syntax and semantics of adjectives. 'Dixon's introductory chapter, "Adjectival classes in typological perspective", is clearly destined to be a classic in the field.... This volume will clearly be useful to anyone interested in adjectives and the nature of linguistic categorization.' Gary Holton, Linguist List

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References to this book

A Grammar of Semelai
Nicole Kruspe
Limited preview - 2004

About the author (2006)

R.M.W. Dixon is Professor and Director of the Research Centre for Linguistic Typology at La Trobe University. He has published grammars of a number of Australian languages (including Dyirbal and Yidin), in addition to A Grammar of Boumaa Fijian (University of Chicago Press 1988), A New Approach to English Grammar, on Semantic Principles (OUP 1991, revised edition in preparation), and The Jarawara Language of Southern Amazonia (OUP 2004).His books on typological theory include Where have all the Adjectives Gone? and other Essays in Semantics and Syntax (1982) and Ergativity (1994). His essay The Rise and Fall of Languages (1997) expounded a punctuated equilibrium model for language development which is the basis for his detailed case study AustralianLanguages: their Nature and Development (2002). He is currently working on an extensive study of basic linguistic theory.Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald is Professor and Associate Director of the Research Centre for Linguistic Typology at La Trobe University. She has worked on descriptive and historical aspects of Berber languages and has published in Russian a grammar of Modern Hebrew (1990). She is a major authority on languages of the Arawak family of northern Amazonia, and has written grammars of Bare (1995, based on work with the last speaker who has since died) and Warekena (1998), plus A Grammar of Tariana,from Northwest Amazonia (CUP 2003). Her books include Classifiers: a Typology of Noun Categorization devices (OUP 2000, paperback reissue 2003), Language contact in Amazonia (OUP 2002), and Evidentiality (OUP 2004). She is currently working on grammatical description of Manambu, from the Sepik region ofNew Guinea.

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