nouns (substantive and adjective) [was: verbs = nouns?]
|From:||Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, January 11, 2001, 21:09|
At 3:56 pm -0500 10/1/01, H. S. Teoh wrote:
>Well, OK, so it didn't say adjectives were *distinct* from nouns, but they
>were treated separately in the textbook so I assumed they were different.
Beware of making assumptions from the treatment of grammar in text books :)
Authors have a habit of churning out stuff in a particular way simply
because that was the way they were taught. Indeed, in some case, e.g.
classical Greek & Latin verse prosody, I've regretably seen
misunderstandings unquestioningly repeated from one author to another :=(
The distinction between substantive & adjective is IMO very tenuous and in
Greek & Latin.
At 4:10 pm -0500 10/1/01, Nik Taylor wrote:
>Raymond Brown wrote:
>> The noun covers both what we now ('traditionally') call adjective as well
>> as what we now call noun;
>Oh, yeah - I got "noun" and "substantive" reversed, and was thinking
>that "substantive" had been used for both noun and adjective.
>Nevertheless, my point stands that today people don't usually call
>adjectives "nouns" in IE langs.
True - but there was once a tradition to do so. Now, indeed, it could be
misleading to use 'noun' that way; but I think an unambiguous term
corresponding to the 19th cent. (and earlier) "noun" would be useful.
>So, to be consistent, one should either
>count adjectives as a separate category in both IE langs and langs like
>Chinese and Japanese, or count them as nouns in IE langs and as verbs in
I do, in effect.
>Considering it a separate category makes cross-linguistic
Yes, I agree - but this is a functional category and the former are
morphological categories. I tend to think of this rather like intersectings
sets which, alas, the contraints of ASCII do not allow me to show; but I
guess you know what I'm getting at.
At 8:48 pm -0500 10/1/01, Steg Belsky wrote:
>On Wed, 10 Jan 2001 20:28:43 +0000 Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
>> I have a old "Catechism of Hebrew, Greek & Latin Grammar" which,
>> unfortunately, is not dated, but someone has written the date 1885
>> in it by hand.
>What does it say about "sustantive nouns" and "adjective nouns" in
The Hebrew section is quite different from the Greek & Latin. It starts
with pages of stuff about alphabet, pronunciation, syllabification etc,
then after a brief bit on pronouns it goes into page after page on verbs!
Eventually it does get round to nouns and we find:
Q. How are nouns (substantive and adjective) divided?
A. Into _primatives_ and _derivatives_; the latter again either come from a
verb, _verbals_, or from a noun, _denominatives_.
Then, much later in the section on Syntax, we find:
Q. When is the substantive used for the adjective?
A. 1. The substantive of _property_ often stands in the genitive for the
adjective; so always of _material_, for which there is almost a total lack
of adjectives, e.g. [Hebrew chars.] _silver vessels_ or _vessels of
silver_, [Hebrew chars.] _the holy garments_.
[I assume the Hebrew is literally 'the garments of holiness']
2. Also adjectives denoting a _possession_, _quality_, _habit_, are often
expressed periphrastically by particular substantives [Heb.chars] _man_,
[Heb.chars] _men_, [Heb.chars] _lord_, [Heb.chars] _son_ and [Heb.chars]
_daughter_, e.g. [Heb.chars] _a son of worth_ for _worthy_.
Q. Do adjectives ever stand for substantives?
A. Yes, chiefly to express an abstract idea.
But no examples are given of the latter and no more is said about this; but
it reminds me of Greek use of the adjective in, e.g. _to agathon_ =
goodness [as an abstract quality].
The next question goes onto ask about Hebrew use of singular & plural.
I must apologize for not giving the Hebrew. I'm not fluent at reading the
Hebrew alphabet nor do I know the ASCII convention for representing some of
A mind which thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language.
[J.G. Hamann 1760]