Russian Relative Clauses.

Bathrobe wrote me as follows:

My understanding is that Russian has three kinds of construction equivalent to a relative clause:

1. Subordinate clause using the relative pronoun который. I assume that this is what is referred to by the term определительное предложение.

2. Constructions using the following: кто, что, какой, чей, сколько, and насколько.

3. Subordinate clauses using participles (причастие), which are much more versatile than English participles and are actually tensed.

Which of the above is actually referred to as a “relative clause” (определительное предложение)? Is there a specific name for the other structures, in particular the participial structures? Or are they all covered by определительное предложение?

This is rather important because one early Russian grammar of Mongolian, that of Бобровников 1849, referred to Mongolian relative clause constructions as определительное предложение. However, an earlier grammar by Ковалевский (1835) called the verb forms used in relative clauses причастие.

Do these represent opposing views of the nature of relative clauses in Mongolian, or are they completely compatible? If use of the term определительное предложение is restricted to clauses using который, then the analysis of the verb forms as причастие would imply a different analysis on the part of Ковалевский. If, on the other hand, clauses containing причастие are normally regarded in Russian as one variety of определительное предложение, then the two views would be completely compatible.

My knowledge of official Russian grammar is too limited to be of any help, so I’m throwing the questions out there for more knowledgeable folks to deal with. Bathrobe and I thank you for any light you can shed!

Comments

  1. He introduces 4 types: https://books.google.com/books?id=1y4OAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA264

    (1) определительные

    я прочитал книгу, которую вы мне прислали “I’ve read the book that you sent to me”
    я прочитал присланную вами книгу “I’ve read the sent-by-you book” (where присланную ‘sent’ is a participle)

    (2) членные : I saw that you were walking (что)

    (3) составительные, where the clause plays adverbial role

    having-arrived to-home, I began to-read book. (“having arrived” is a form called деепричастие. The same word is used for converbs in other languages. He identifies 6 participles (причастия) and 9 деепричастия in Mongolian.)

    (4) вводные he said: I’ll come.

  2. David Eddyshaw says

    Kusaal similarly has an embarras de richesses when it comes to relative-clause equivalents: besides two different ways of forming internally-headed relative clauses, and the alternative of using pronoun-headed relative clauses in apposition to the head instead, it loves using catenated clauses like participles, e.g.

    Dau da bɛ mɔri o pu’a yimmir.
    man REMOTE-PAST exist [LINKER] have his wife unique
    “Once there was a man who had just one wife.”

    [SPOILER: She was a WITCH!]

  3. PlasticPaddy says

    @de
    Maybe the phrase “there’s safety in numbers” originates in a defence of the polygamous lifestyle.

  4. There is a construction “the man who X” where X can be a verb without objects or adverbial phrases and where a participle could be comfortably used: “the Xing man”.

    Is this construction French? the French write “homme qui [rit, dort, …]” because it is French, and everyone translates it as is and it becomes a poetical construction in English?

    And then in RUssian we also translate ENglish “The man who fell to Earth” as is even though Russian allows Having-fallen to Earth Man?

  5. “La vache qui rit” is translated as “The Laughing Cow”. “The Cow Who Laughs” would sound poetical or something, as you say.

  6. David Eddyshaw says

    @PP:

    Practically everybody in the story turns out to be a witch (including the local chief) apart from the hapless husband. It turns out she was protecting him. When she goes off to visit her parents she leaves him with some helpful advice, which he promptly forgets, and he gets his life-force stolen by his next-door neighbour (Kusaasi witches are more like vampires than European-style witches.) She sorts it all out in the end though.

    The story ends with a fine moral: You should always listen to advice, even from a woman. (The fact that she’s a witch is kind of secondary, really. Just one of those personality quirks that people have, like insisting that your husband doesn’t take another wife. It takes all sorts …)

  7. As I understand it, only 1 is covered by определительное предложение and it is syntactically different from 3, but semantically nearly identical. Like “…, which [verb] …” vs. “… [participle]…”. 2 is a different thing and is basically what in English is introduced by words other than which (when, because, while etc.)

    In Russian school grammar 1 and 3 are studied as two completely different things despite both types of phrasing being separated by commas (as drasvi noted in another thread, the main goal of RusLang education – for natives – is learning correct orthography and especially punctuation).

  8. David Marjanović says

    Is this construction French?

    One language where participles exist* but are actively avoided in favor of relative clauses is German.

    I blame German for the commas in Russian participial constructions: they mimic the commas around German relative clauses.

    * …well, the present one may not be productive anywhere outside the standard. In my dialect it’s limited to a few lexicalized relicts. Intriguingly, some of them are used in ways that are not grammatical in the standard and look like a failed attempt to create an aspect…

  9. A question probably not relevant to the subject at hand:

    Is the syntax illustrated by присланную вами книгу ‘the sent-by-you book’ not of German origin? It reminds me of a German Schachtelsatz.

  10. Schachtel has an interesting etymology:

    15th century, from Italian scatola, with metathesis from Latin castulum, itself a diminutive of Lombardic Old High German kasto. Hence a doublet of inherited Kasten as well as the later borrowing Schatulle. The -ch- is due to a Bavarian consonantal development, for which compare Spachtel.

  11. In Russian school grammar 1 and 3 are studied as two completely different things despite both types of phrasing being separated by commas

    Thank you, that was my question.

    What is 3. called in Russian?

    Is the syntax illustrated by присланную вами книгу ‘the sent-by-you book’ not of German origin? It reminds me of a German Schachtelsatz.

    I would say it is highly relevant. Both feature participles (non-finite verb forms modifying nouns) in adnominal position. But I’m not sure that it’s of German origin, although I guess you couldn’t rule it out. In Russian, if my understanding is correct, they can go either before or after the noun.

    English has them too, but they only go after the noun, i.e., “The book sent by you”.

  12. Dau da bɛ mɔri o pu’a yimmir.
    man REMOTE-PAST exist [LINKER] have his wife unique
    “Once there was a man who had just one wife.”

    This is, it seems to me, identical to Chinese.

    以前有个人只有一个老婆。
    Yǐqián yǒu ge rén zhǐ yǒu yíge lǎopó.
    Before be/have classifier person only be/have one classifier wife.

    However, the Chinese construction is not regarded as a relative clause, either. I think it’s regarded as a “pivot sentence” because rén acts as a pivot, having a different grammatical role in Yǐqián yǒu ge rén (‘before there was a person’) and rén zhǐ yǒu yíge lǎopó (‘person had only one wife’). This is, of course, under the strictly distributional grammar that was adopted as standard grammar a bit over 60 years ago.

    This is found only in presentational sentences (introducing a subject), and goes along the same lines as the English song:

    “There was a farmer had a dog.”

    Or, more pertinently,

    “There was a man had just one wife”.

  13. @Bathrobe, modern Russian grammatical terminology is different.

    Bobrovnikov explicitly defined определительное предложение as your 1 and 3.

  14. What is 3. called in Russian?

    Apparently it was pretty much the same for Bobrovnikov. Now it is called причастный оборот.

  15. Thanks, Drasvi and D.O.!

    Quoting Drasvi:

    He introduces 4 types: (I assume we are talking about subordinate clauses, or ways of combining sentences, сочетание предложений, here.)

    (1) определительные

    я прочитал книгу, которую вы мне прислали “I’ve read the book that you sent to me”
    я прочитал присланную вами книгу “I’ve read the sent-by-you book” (where присланную ‘sent’ is a participle)

    That is the standard Mongolian “relative clause”. So at that time Бобровников had no problem calling these определительные even though they use причастия. That is what I found puzzling, given that (modern) Russian определительные do not use participles.

    (2) членные : I saw that you were walking (что)

    This looks like a simple object clause in Mongolian.

    (3) составительные, where the clause plays adverbial role

    having-arrived to-home, I began to-read book. (“having arrived” is a form called деепричастие. The same word is used for converbs in other languages. He identifies 6 participles (причастия) and 9 деепричастия in Mongolian.)

    Yes, деепричастия is a converb. But in English your example would be regarded as a type of participial clause, not a relative clause.

    (4) вводные he said: I’ll come.

    This is a quotative.

    At any rate, that clarifies a lot for me.

    The influence of Russian grammar on Mongolian grammar and terminology is quite profound.

    Mongolian uses a particular verb form in relative clauses (adjectival clauses, adnominal clauses, call them what you will), which differs from finite verb forms. Because of the similarity to Russian “participle” причастия, Russian linguists called it причастия (“participle”), a naming which has stuck.

    As I pointed out to Hat in a separate email:

    “some Mongolian grammarians use terms like жинхэнэ нэр and бодит нэр to mean noun. Both mean something like ‘real’ or ‘concrete’ name. And of course that is from Russian имя существительное (obviously ‘substantive’).

    “The word for ‘adjective’ is тэмдэг нэр, meaning something like ‘sign name’, obviously from Russian имя прилагательное.”

    Unless you come from a Russian grammatical background, some of this can sound rather puzzling.

  16. Is the syntax illustrated by присланную вами книгу ‘the sent-by-you book’ not of German origin? It reminds me of a German Schachtelsatz
    But word order and Schachtelung work differently for this attributive use of participles in German:
    das von Ihnen geschickte Buch “the by you sent book”.

  17. David Marjanović says

    The -ch- is due to a Bavarian consonantal development, for which compare Spachtel.

    …and when you click on the link to Spachtel, it just refers back to Schachtel for this development. The same happens when you repeat the exercise in the DWDS.

    I’m not aware of any other examples of this bizarre sound change. It looks like preaspiration, but we don’t aspirate at all.

  18. January First-of-May says

    And then in Russian we also translate English “The man who fell to Earth” as is even though Russian allows Having-fallen to Earth Man?

    See also: the circumlocutory construction in the Russian name of Karlsson-who-lives-on-the-Roof.

    (The original Swedish Karlsson på taket is apparently quite literally “Karlsson on the roof”, but of course he’s probably better described as Karlsson from the roof – or, in Russian, Карлсон с крыши*.
    Wiktionary says that Swedish cannot mean “from”; perhaps it’s an abbreviation of a similar circumlocutory phrase.)

     
    *) apparently the name of an alternate translation by the late Eduard Uspensky

  19. PlasticPaddy says

    @dm
    If it is only those two words, some kind of interference with close-sounding but not related words seems possible. For Spachtel there is the Lombard/OHG word behind Italian spaccare (to crush, flatten) and the beginning of Schachtel could have been confused with the word for cavity or handle.

  20. David Eddyshaw says

    This is, it seems to me, identical to Chinese.

    I think there is a family resemblance, but it’s not really the same.

    Although my Kusaal example does feature a very common story-introducing presentational construction, it’s actually just one instance of a very much more widespread construction, which is by no means confined to presentational use.

    It’s usually called a “serial verb” construction; though this is actually wrong for various fairly technical reasons, it often works rather like canonical serial verb constructions do in languages that have such things.

    The basic structure is

    Subject + Verb phrase + n + Verb phrase

    where the linker particle “n” is usually realised as zero, but has effects on the preceding word showing that even so it is not just some grammarian’s imaginary figment.

    A classic serial-verb-like use is e.g.

    M kuos lɔri tis du’ata la.
    I sell car [LINKER] give doctor the
    “I’ve sold a car to the doctor.”

    The excrescent -i after lɔr “car” is actually a sandhi phenomenon induced by the following linker “n”, even though the particle itself surfaces as zero here.

    The second VP must have the same subject as the first (with some marginal exceptions which are quite interesting in themselves) and in many ways behaves rather like a participle agreeing with the subject, e.g.

    O kennɛ tansid
    She walk.IMPERFECTIVE.FOCUS [LINKER] shout.IMPERFECTIVE
    “She’s walking along shouting.”

    As with serial verbs, many verbs have specialised uses in the catenative construction, like tis “give” in the first example; there is no question of actual giving in that sentence.

    You can do catenation with a changed subject in the second clause too; in that case “n” has to be replaced by ka, which can mean “and”, but generally doesn’t: ka is unequivocally subordinating, for example, on both formal and semantic grounds in

    M daa pʋ nyɛ daʋ̯ la ka o an na’aba.
    I TENSE NEGATIVE.INDICATIVE see man the and he be chief [NEGATIVE]
    “I didn’t see the man as a chief.”

    Na’ab “chief” here appears as na’aba because of a following negative enclitic, itself realised as segmental zero; because this enclitic goes with the preverbal negative particle of the main clause, the ka-clause is clearly embedded in the main clause and is thus formally subordinate.

    Kusaal often uses these clause catenation techniques where English would have a relative clause, partly because actual Kusaal relative clauses are always restrictive (though you can also get round that by using relative clauses appositionally.)

    Historically, “n” was probably actually a de-finitising particle. In Mooré, if you ask someone “what is the Mooré word for ‘hear”?”, for example, they will tell you not “wʋme” but “n wʋme.”

  21. David Marjanović says

    Karlsson from the roof

    Indeed Karlsson vom Dach.

    the word for cavity or handle

    Good point, though that’s two words: Schacht “deep vertical hole”, Schaft “handle of tool or boot”.

  22. Russian шахта, vertical tonnel (In mining, also for elevators).

  23. Russian имя прилагательное is a calque from Greek.

    Greek, because the root (lit. at-lay) translates Greek ἐπιθετ- “on/at-lay” (cf. English epithet) but not Latin adjec-. But I don’t understand what’s going on with endings. English “noun” and “adjective” are accordingly from Latin “nomen [substantivum]” and “[nomen] adiectivum” (cf. French nom substantif). I think phrases “Name/Noun Adjective” were in use in English too. But English speakers cheated. They borrowed “noun” and then specialized it:/

  24. David Eddyshaw says

    You still find “substantive” used for “noun” in English sometimes.

    I suppose that adjectives just aren’t as noun-y in English as they are in Latin.

  25. How not nouny?

    Red dress, red is a name of a colour, dress is “dressy one, shaped as a dress and made of fabric”.

    But there is no formal difference. If I did not know that “red” is universal and “dress” is specific and material, I wouln’t tell one fromt he other (possibly substantivating articles could help: “it is a dress”)

  26. David Eddyshaw says

    You can’t in general use an adjective as a noun phrase head in English. There are exceptions, like “the Russians”, but they fall into particular limited categories. “Red” as the name of the colour is not an example, though, but an example of zero-derivation: in that sense, it is a noun, and not an adjective.

    In Latin, on the other hand, there is no restriction on using an adjective as a noun phrase head. So Latin adjectives are nounier than English adjectives are. In some languages they are so nounlike that its questionable whether they should be separated out as a distinct part of speech at all, or just regarded as a kind of noun that is typically used in apposition to other nouns. (A lot of Australian languages have “adjectives” like that.)

    Kusaal (as I’m sure you’re dying to know) can only use adjectives as heads in predicatives (e.g. ba anɛ piela “they are white”) and most adjectives can’t even do that (it seems to be dependent on there not being a corresponding derived adverb or stative verb from that adjective.) Otherwise, you have to use a dummy head: Bʋnpiela la malisim. “The white ones/things are nice.”

    It’s not that adjectives in English (or Kusaal) are completely unnounlike; but they don’t have all the properties of real nouns.

    (In many languages, of course, adjectives are not nounlike at all, but behave like verbs or like neither nouns not verbs. Japanese adjectives are of two kinds, a verblike kind and a nounlike kind, though even the nounlike kind are not syntactically exactly like ordinary nouns.)

  27. I’m from the universe where “red” is a noun and “dress” is an adjective:)

  28. How not nouny?

    Morphology, I think. All Latin nomina bear an inflectional ending that marks gender+number+case in one of three declensions (with two oddball declensions and a tiny handful of irregulars), with a fair amount of syncretism. However, some of them (the ones later called nomina adjectiva) have mutable gender: they agree in gender with the head of the noun phrase they appear in, and when they themselves are the head, they are neuter. English doesn’t work that way: nouns are marked for number only and adjectives have no markers at all, not even when they appear as heads, so the two groups have essentially nothing in common.

    Because Latin didn’t allow two nomina substantiva in a (simple) noun phrase, English grammarians concluded that dog in dog house was an adjective zero-derived from the noun dog, and analogously for house dog. (I was taught this still in the mid-1970s.) Now, however, these are both accepted as noun-noun compounds, a Germanic but distinctively non-Latin thing.

    In the case of red dress, however, we can see that red truly is an adjective here, because we can have redder dress, reddest dress, unlike *housest dog, *doggest house, because these are derivational endings specific to adjectives. The OED shows that most uses of the noun red were originally short for particular phrases from which the noun has been dropped: e.g. red [cloth], red [gold], red [ochre], red [wine], red [kangaroo], red [salmon], red [potato], Red [Indian], red [ink], red [light], red [cent], red [alert], and of course red [color].

  29. David Eddyshaw says

    I think there is a distinction between dog house/doghouse, which, however written, is reasonably analysed as a compound, and something like paper hat, which is not so much a compound as an illustration of the fact that English is cool with nouns being used as noun premodifiers. It is wrong-headed to regard this as conversion: to do so is to mistake a grammatical function for a grammatical category (a besetting sin of traditional older English grammars.)

    On English adjectives specifically (swiped from “The Theoretical Orientation of The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language” by H & P themselves):

    CGEL accordingly rejects such definitions, and recognizes that being able to serve as Modifier of a noun is neither a sufficient condition for adjectivehood nor a necessary one: not all words that modify nouns are adjectives (“Harvard” is a noun), and not all adjectives can function as Modifier of a noun (“asleep” can’t). Adjectives are characterized by a cluster of grammatical properties, with core members of the category having them all, while more peripheral members have some but not all. Core adjectives share these three properties:

    (i) They can function as Modifier of a noun (big ideas).
    (ii) They can function as Predicative Complement (This is big).
    (iii) They can be modified by adverbs of degree (very big).

  30. PlasticPaddy says

    @de
    I would have to read more. For me “asleep” is a rarely used and fossilised prepositional or verbal construction and not an adjective. Compare “ina c(h)odladh” in Irish, So he fell asleep [NOT adjective for me] = thit sé in a chodladh [Maybe calque]. Also he went away [NOT adjective for me].

  31. @drasvi: But “dress material” and “dressy material” don’t mean the same thing. Almost* any noun can be used attributively as adjectivals, but attributive modifiers have different meaning than basic adjectives. Red is, by default, an adjective, so the phrase “red ingredient” prototypically means something like lobster, an ingredient that is red. However, in the right context, “red” could be an attributive noun modifier; in that case, “red ingredient” could mean a component used to make a red pigment.

    * I was trying to think of examples of nouns that didn’t work attributively, perhaps because they were blocked by adjective forms with effectively identical meanings. I remembered** a second-grade English assignment about identifying adjectives that described an aspect of appearance other than color. The first occurrence in the passage, which was about a rocket takeoff, was “shiny spacesuits.” So I wondered, does the existence of shiny block the attributive use of shine; but no, it’s just a difference in meaning. “Go get your shine box!” is not the same as, “Go get your shiny box!” Of course, the existence of the adjective shiny is related to the fact that the default part of speech for the lexeme shine is a verb. (The same goes for dressy with respect to the verb dress.)

    ** Actually, some of my memory of this assignment seems to be fictional, since I remember my second-grade language arts teacher, Mrs. Bolt discussing the assignment, but I remember the discussion taking place in the wrong classroom, MC-3 (where we moved for Reading class), not Room 19, where she taught us English.

  32. David Marjanović says

    noun-noun compounds, a Germanic but distinctively non-Latin thing

    I’ve read there were a few in Plautus, specifically legerupa “lawbreaker” and sociofrauda “swindler of his friends”, but by Classical times they seem to have disappeared.

    I think there is a distinction between dog house/doghouse, which, however written, is reasonably analysed as a compound, and something like paper hat, which is not so much a compound as an illustration of the fact that English is cool with nouns being used as noun premodifiers.

    Where is the difference?

    Are you getting at the yeast artificial chromosome?

  33. I agree that dog[ ]house is a compound, but squirrel house is not, or at least it does not have the compounding stress pattern.

    PlasticPaddy: It’s true one can’t say *an asleep person (case i) or *Sam is more asleep than me/**Sam is asleeper than me (case iii), but case ii, He is asleep, is perfectly cromulent for me at least, which makes asleep an adjective if not a core one. Not so for you?

  34. David Eddyshaw says

    In Kusaal (in the light of which I interpret all languages, as my forebears did with Latin) “doghouse”/”dog house” and “paper hat” are quite different constructions.

    The first is a head-second compound: badɔɔg, where the first element is the combining form of baa “dog”: this combining form is necessarily non-referential, and can’t be the antecedent of a pronoun. [Dɔɔg, to confuse everyone maximally, means not “dog” but “hut.”*] And in English “black dog[]house”, it has to be the house which is black, not the dog.

    The second is an uncompounded noun phrase: gbampiel zupibig, where gbampiel “paper” could be referred to by a pronoun; cf salima la’ad nɛ o bʋtiis “gold items and its [i.e. gold’s] cups”, offered to me as a correction of salima la’ad nɛ bʋtiis “[gold items] and cups”, where only the “items” are gold.
    And in the English “depleted uranium shells” it’s the uranium which is depleted, not the shells.

    * It also means “clan”, because in a traditional compound each of the husband’s wives has her own separate hut.

  35. I would definitely give “squirrel house” compounding stress pattern.

    Unless it was “Squirrel House”, the name of a building.

  36. David Eddyshaw says

    Come to that, a “paperhat” (with the principal stress on the first syllable) would be very different from a paper hat. Presumably it would be a hat that you put on to read the paper, like this

    https://www.historicalemporium.com/store/006654.php

  37. To clarify, there would definitely be a difference in pronunciation. The “h” in “dog house” wouldn’t be pronounced. The “h” in “squirrel house” would.

  38. Come to that, a “paperhat” (with the principal stress on the first syllable) would be very different from a paper hat. Presumably it would be a hat that you put on to read the paper, like this

    Wow, thanks (somehow intuition about hypothetical words is more informative for me than actual words).

    I assume the more formal *reading cap, also *reading helmet would give *reading “luxurious embroidered hat with wide brims frim bioluminscent fiber?” in Russian.

    P.S. just followed the link…
    Yes, this *reading was inspired by Russian smoking “a jacket with silk lapels” < smoking jacket. And I guessed right the embroidery.

  39. For English “noun noun”, “a noun’s noun”, “noun of noun” Russian only has “nounish noun” and “noun of noun” (on-wall-ish (wall-mounted), wall-ish (pertaining to walls), brick-ish (made of brick), dog-ish booth etc). Nounish nouns do happen in English (golden) but are less common.

    And now you have more than one type of “noun noun” in English:-/ I guess “languagehat” is yet another type.

    But English -fish, -tree etc. compounds (-[any short word]) systematically correspond to Russian suffixation. Paper-nik (бумажник) is a wallet, but fem. *paper-nitsa could be a plausible name for anything.

  40. PlasticPaddy says

    @jc
    My point is that adjectival forms can be used in identical contexts, e.g., “he was / fell sick”. But that does not make words or phrases like “in love”, asleep or away adjectives for me.

  41. David Marjanović says

    And in the English “depleted uranium shells” it’s the uranium which is depleted, not the shells.

    Hence the spelling depleted-uranium shells, but the hyphen seems to be dying out altogether, except where it replaces dashes.

    Come to that, a “paperhat” (with the principal stress on the first syllable) would be very different from a paper hat. Presumably it would be a hat that you put on to read the paper

    To clarify, there would definitely be a difference in pronunciation. The “h” in “dog house” wouldn’t be pronounced. The “h” in “squirrel house” would.

    Both of these are so far from the German experience they’ve escaped me altogether.

    We actually have a very rare adjective papieren, but ein Papierhut by default means ein papierener Hut

    Russian smoking “a jacket with silk lapels”

    German, too. Must be one of those 19th-century International English words.

  42. German, too.

    Oh, that’s interesting. Smoking is old enough in Russian and I don’t see why Russians would borrow it in this form. So I suspected a foreign model.
    Other similar words are recent, usually designate concepts perceived as foreign/Western and do indeed feel as a productive model, except that again I don’t know where this model came from.

    See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/-ing#-ing_words_in_other_languages

  43. The “h” in “dog house” wouldn’t be pronounced.

    I can’t think of any circumstances in Standard English where this could be true. In Cockney English, sure.

  44. PlasticPaddy says

    @vanya
    I think what he means is that the (glottal or zero) rest phoneme between dog and house is absent in doghouse but present in “bowler hat”. Compare penthouse and rest home.

  45. David Marjanović says

    That doesn’t help me either.

  46. PlasticPaddy says

    @dm
    Not sure how to write in IPA, and different speakers realise the “rest/stop word break” differently (some speakers even only put it in, e.g., where the second word begins with a consonant cluster or where eliding the stop would produce a non-allowed sequence). In German do you have the same (lack of) separation after s in Hausapotheke, Hausarzt, Hausdurchsuchung?

  47. Compare penthouse and rest home

    No difference for me, just a spelling convention. Or “bowler hat” for that matter. All these have the compounding stress pattern John Cowan referred to.

    I can feel the rest phoneme in “paper hat”. But is it really correct to analyze paper as a noun in that case? I would think not – “paper” here appears to function as an adjective, but “paper” doesn’t have an adjectival inflection the way “wood-wooden” does

  48. I can’t think of any circumstances in Standard English where this could be true.

    I obviously don’t speak “Standard English”.

    I think some Australian speakers might agree with me, but I’m not sure how many.

    For me, “dog house” sounds laboured, like people who always say “them” instead of “’em” or “him” instead of “‘im”.

    And for me, the only time I’d use “doghouse” is if someone was in the bad books with their wife.

  49. I think the French use “smoking” too.

  50. David Eddyshaw says
  51. PlasticPaddy says
  52. There’s no ultimate answer to whether “paper” is an adjective in “paper hat”; adjectives are an abstraction that we use to classify word usages, and which usages fall into which classes is a matter of, as CGEL says, theoretical orientation. To illustrate how uncertain the classification can be, I checked part-of-speech labels in the OED for premodifiers describing what material something is made of (as in “paper hat”), and apparently they are not consistent. In many cases, they do sort out a specific sense for “made of…” usage and label it adj., e.g. amber, gold, iron, mahogany, marble, nickel, opal, ruby (all revised). But in other cases, they put “made of…” uses under “Compounds, attributive”, and the part-of-speech label is still n., e.g. agate, bone, grass, rubber (all revised). If there’s any difference in the evidence to support these different labels, I can’t find it: for example, all the citations under amber adj. 2. “Made from or consisting of amber” are attributive (amber bracelets, amber necklaces, etc.); if those are adjectives, why not bone needle, grass basket, rubber hose?

    Would CGEL say those are all nouns?

  53. Bathrobe: What do you call the thing that Snoopy sleeps on top of, and that doubles as his airplane?

  54. David Eddyshaw says

    Would CGEL say those are all nouns?

    Yes, definitely.

    Some of the words you give are actually ambiguous, and can be adjectives as well as premodifying nouns, but with different meanings, An amber spyglass, for example, might be made of amber (premodifying noun) or amber-coloured, like a traffic light (adjective.)

    In the “made of” sense, it seems perverse to call such words adjectives.

    Kusaal consistently uses uncompounded premodifying mass nouns for the “made of” construction (salima bʋtiŋ “gold cup”) and they are actually referential (which I don’t think is the case in English, though thinking about the question makes my brain hurt.) In Kusaal the noun-phrase X + noun-phrase Y construction can also be possessive (dau la bʋtiŋ “the man’s cup”), so you could just as well parse salima bʋtiŋ as “cup of gold.”

    The combining forms of Kusaal nouns can also be used as premodifiers, creating head-second compounds, and the meanings of such combining forms are often quasi-adjectival; they are never referential: na’ab la wief zʋʋr “the chief’s horse’s tail” (the chief must own a horse) but na’ab la widzʋʋr “the chief’s horsetail” (not so much.)

    The first part of a Kusaal compound cannot describe the material from which something is made: *salimbʋtiŋ would have to be, not a cup made of gold, but a cup for gold, or something. Conversely, “current” (as in a river) is ku’onwiig “water-rope”; but the uncompounded ku’om nwiig would have to mean “a rope made of water” (a thing of doubtful utility.)

  55. David Eddyshaw says

    the thing that Snoopy sleeps on top of

    A kennel. (I’ve just this minute realised that this word must ultimately be from the Latin canis.)
    Do Americans have kennels, or only doghouses?

  56. David Eddyshaw: From a Vulgar Latin *canile(m), which indeed is related to “canis”, and which yielded “chenil” in (Central, Parisian) French and a /k/-initial form in (inter alia) Normandy (Quite “lautgesetzlich”: Compare French “château” and English “castle’ from Latin “castellu(m)”, the English form also deriving directly from a specifically Norman French form with /k/ preserved before /a/, as opposed to the palatalization encountered in Central/Parisian French), with the latter form being the ultimate etymon of English “kennel”.

    To my mind, a kennel is a place where multiple dogs dwell, whereas a doghouse typically only has one dog living in it (I would thus say that Snoopy sleeps on a/his doghouse, never a/his kennel). I freely admit this could be a gallicism: French has “chenil” as a place where multiple dogs dwell and “niche” as a place where a single dog lives, and perhaps the distinction I make in English mirrors the French one.

  57. To me a kennel is a dog hotel, where you pay someone to keep a dog (say if you’re going away), or an outfit which breeds pedigreed dogs. A dog shelter is not a kennel, however.

    Ed. And, Snoopy lives in a dog house (as do, metaphorically, shamed husbands). A lightweight cage in which to carry an animal to the vet or such is a crate.

  58. David Eddyshaw says

    In Brit, a kennel can be for just one dog, as their normal abode. (We’re just that posh.)

    The multiple-user kind that you pay for when you go on holiday, or where capitalist exploiters breed oligarchical pedigree dogs too expensive for honest workers to buy, is kennels.

    In fact, “doghouse” strikes me as distinctly American, now I think about it. (Though such impressions often turn out to be false. It probably goes back to Piers Plowman or something. Or Beowulf. Þæs hundes hus … it alliterates and everything …)

  59. by Classical times they seem to have disappeared.

    Not all, for example the compounds in -cida (parricida, patricida, fratricida, sororicida) occur in Cicero. But I wonder if there is also a sociological factor involved: the compounds in Plautus seem to be part of the language of the street, whereas the so-called classical language (even the colloquial register in many of Cicero’s letters) is that of the Roman nobility. On the other hand, compounds were common in the only foreign language educated Romans knew.

  60. To my mind, a kennel is a place where multiple dogs dwell, whereas a doghouse typically only has one dog living in it (I would thus say that Snoopy sleeps on a/his doghouse, never a/his kennel).

    I agree, and so does my wife (I just asked her). I note that my Collins Robert French Dictionary has

    chenil [ʃ(ə)ni(l)] nm kennels. mettre son chien dans un ~ to put one’s dog in kennels

    I wasn’t familiar with this use of “kennels” as a singular; is it standard UK usage?

    …and I see DE snuck in and answered that while I was asking it.

    I was also surprised by the optional [-l] in chenil; my oldest French dictionary has only [ʃəni], so I’m guessing it’s a spelling pronunciation. TLFi says:

    Prononc. et Orth. : [ʃ(ə)ni(l)]. a) [ə] muet. Noté ds les dict. de Fér. 1768 à DG sauf Fél. 1851; cf. également pour les dict. mod. ds Passy 1914, Pt Lar. 1968 et Lar. Lang. fr. [ə] facultatif ds Barbeau-Rodhe 1930, Pt Rob.; pour Dub. on prononce [ə] quand on prononce [l] final. Au sujet de [ə] cf. chemin. b) [l] final. N’est pas noté de Fér. 1768 à DG, ainsi que ds Passy 1914, Barbeau-Rodhe 1930 et Warn. 1968. On ne prononce pas non plus [l] pour Rouss.-Lacl. 1927, p. 166, 167, pour Grammont Prononc. 1958, p. 93, 94 et pour Kamm. 1964, p. 216, 217. [l] final est facultatif ds Dub., Pt Rob., Pt Lar. 1968 et Lar. Lang. fr.; cf. aussi Nyrop Phonét. 1951, * 223 qui souligne qu’on entend les 2 prononc. avec ou sans [l]. Buben 1935, * 204 indique que la prononc. normale à Paris est sans [l]. Attesté ds Ac. 1694-1932 avec l’indication que e ne se prononce pas.

    Complicated!

  61. David Eddyshaw says

    There are actually quite a few compounds in classical Latin, though I’m having difficulty coming up with many where the second element is not deverbal (as in parricida, naufragium, crucifixus, legislator, beneficium, malefactor, grandiloquus, agricola…) I suppose there’s magnanimitas… (and pusillanimis…) … misericors … and that fine gentleman Ahenobarbus … and they had plenty of quadrupedes ….

  62. magnanimitas is derived from magnanimus, which is an adjectival compound (as is pusillanimis/pusillanimus, which according to Georges’ Handwörterbuch is limited to “ecclesiastical” writers — not the kind of word Cicero or Tacitus would have used, or even known).

  63. @DE, what about two other criteria, will you understand “I’m amber”, “I’m rubber”, “it’s amber”, “it’s rubber” as “I’m …. the material” or “I’m made of it”? And are these two meanings are distinct?

  64. David Eddyshaw says

    @ulr:

    One the other hand, magnaminus is found in the works of that well-known ecclesiastic Virgil.
    Do compound adjectives not count as compounds for some reason? I’ve lost track … ah yes, it was “noun-noun compounds” that were supposed to be lacking. Comes back to the status of adjectives vs nouns again … we’re all nomina here …

    All the examples that come readily to mind where the second element is not deverbal are admittedly bahuvrihis.

    @drasvi:

    In the context of children’s play-acting (I can’t think of any more humdrum one where such statements seem likely) I would think that “I’m amber” would be most likely to mean “I am made of amber”, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a more imaginative child claiming to instantiate the entire Platonic Idea of amber. Grammar alone would not rule out this interpretation …

  65. “Doghouse” is in fact older than the US — OED has it from 1555 — but it must have lost favor in its homeland: multiple British dictionaries (Cambridge, Oxford, Collins, Macmillan) label it as American, or North American, and define it as “kennel”.

    The metaphorical “in the doghouse” is originally U.S., but has crossed over; the cites for “doghouse” in GloWbE from Britain and Ireland turned out to be predominantly metaphorical.

  66. David Eddyshaw says

    Yes, that matches my own feeling about the word very well. And I am now afflicted by a (relatively pleasant) Hank Williams Buddy Jones earworm …

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUfFZyy8mNw

  67. @DE, I did not like “this necklace is amber” because

    – even “this necklase is red” is not really natural
    – there is competition between “it’s a Xish necklace” (where Xish has predicative function, that is, you are informing someone that it is made of amber, but the position of an attribute) and “this necklace is Xish”
    – Necklace clearly suggests a specific relation with amber.

    I wanted some pronoun. “It’s red” sounds better, “Xish it” does not sound well.
    I needed something like “I’m amber” or “they’re amber”.

    The idea is that if such use is possible and “is X” [made of X] is clearly distinct in speakers’ mind from “is X” [is the material itself] it is an argument for adjectivehood.

  68. David Eddyshaw says

    “This necklace is red” seems perfectly natural to me (I mean, it seems a bit inconsequential as a remark, but there’s nothing at all odd about it grammatically.)

    I don’t see quite what you’re getting at.

    Kusaal doesn’t like using adjectives predicatively, and indeed only seems to do so if there is no alternative (which actually happens to be the case with colour adjectives.) In general, the language prefers a deadjectival stative verb:

    Li zulim.
    it be.deep
    “It’s deep.” (cf zulʋŋ “deep”)

    or a derived abstract noun as the object of “be”:

    Li an sʋm.
    it be goodness
    “It’s good.” (cf sʋŋ “good”)

    or a derived adverb as the object* of “be”:

    Li an sʋ’ʋŋa.
    it be well
    “It’s good.”

    * Yes, “object.” The boundary between manner-adverbs and abstract nouns is pretty questionable in Kusaal.

  69. this [item] is [colour name] has a strange distribution:
    it occurs in books about langauge, but I am not sure people say it often.

    Perhaps it is natural, but there are other issues with nouns and I wanted a pronoun.

  70. Quite “lautgesetzlich”

    “Chattels” and “cattle”?

    The Mongolian word “mal” (мал, ᠮ‍ᠠ‍ᠯ), which now means “livestock”, apparently also originally meant “possessions, property”.

    ___________________________

    “The light is green, the light is amber, the light is red”.

    Seems perfectly natural to me. (Do Americans say “yellow” rather than “amber”? At any rate, “amber” can be used as a colour name.)

  71. The Mongolian word “mal” (мал, ᠮ‍ᠠ‍ᠯ), which now means “livestock”

    For a second I really thought it was a pictogram of an ox.

  72. I don’t see quite what you’re getting at.

    If you can say “they’re amber/rubber” in the sense “made of amber/rubber” and if this sense is distinct for you from the sense “they are the material”, then there is a distinct sense of “amber/rubber” other than a mass noun.

    I don’t know if you can say it.

  73. In Russian we have amber (n) and amber (adj).

    “They amber(adj)” is possible. Say, about beads.
    “это amber(n)” is a common way to inform others that something (beads) is made of amber, but the abstract это (it/this) is very different from он/она/оно (he/she/[a pronoun for neuter nouns]). It means: “what you’re seeing is amber”

    “он rubber(adj)” is a common way to tell that something is made of rubber
    “это rubber(n)” is possible.

    I just don’t know if similar semantical distinction exists in English.

  74. David Eddyshaw says

    If you can say “they’re amber/rubber” in the sense “made of amber/rubber” and if this sense is distinct for you from the sense “they are the material”, then there is a distinct sense of “amber/rubber” other than a mass noun.

    Ah. Gotcha. Good point.
    I don’t think it’s an insuperable objection though. “Amber” need not imply the entirety of the amber in the universe; it might be a limited selection including only bits of the universal amber.

    “Put the bakelite in this drawer and the amber in that one.”
    “This ‘vodka’ you just sold me is just water!”
    “Pour the water into the cup.”

    But even if (as you suggest) “amber” is actually behaving like a predicative adjective in “They’re amber” (sc. “made of amber”), it still doesn’t follow that it is an adjective (at least, not in the “made of amber” sense, as opposed to the “amber-coloured” sense.) This would be just another instance of the confusion of grammatical function with grammatical category that the CGEL-mongers fulminate about.

    http://www.lel.ed.ac.uk/~gpullum/CGELtheory.pdf

    “He’s an Oxford man, but I’m Cambridge.”

  75. “Amber” need not imply the entirety of the amber in the universe; it might be a limited selection including only bits of the universal amber.

    @DE, so I added “if this sense is distinct for you from”.

    If in your head you are confident that “is amber” as in “made of amber” and “is amber” as in “just water” are two differnet stories, then irrespectively of the distribution I decide that this distinct sense exists. But I don’t know if this is the case, maybe the distinction only exists in my Russian head and in English heads they merge….

    Also I don’t know if “they’re [amber, gold, iron, mahogany, marble, nickel, opal, ruby…]” (the list of “adjectives” in OED) about a collection of earrings etc. and “they’re [rubber]” (“nouns” in OED) about say, stamps is acceptable English at all. Is it?

    But even if … is actually behaving like a predicative adjective in … it still doesn’t follow that it is an adjective

    I am speaking about semantics. There is not that much formal difference here. Many things can be put into the predicative position and all you can do formally is watching your articles (an amber) and morphology (a-sleep, fur-ry).

    But if there is a semantical reason to postulate a distinct meaning, there is a good reason to think that “amber [.., iron, opal…] earrings” has the same “amber” as “they are amber”.

    The question of how we should call this meaning…
    хоть горшком назови, только в печку не ставь ([you can] even call [me] a “pot”, just don’t put [me] in the oven).
    Actually the word that I translated “even” means “[if] you want”.

  76. Agreed that amber (ruby, chocolate, sand, …) in the color sense is an adjective; would CGEL concur? Colors are prototypical adjectives, but doesn’t CGEL avoid semantics in defining word classes?

    (Bathrobe: yes, American traffic signals are yellow, not amber, but other things can be amber in color, e.g. ale.)

    The OED does usually distinguish “having the color of…” senses from “made of…” senses, and the color sense of a word is likely to be labeled adj. even if the material sense isn’t (e.g. chocolate, pearl). But not always: agate in the sense “Resembling agate in appearance; esp. of a dark, variegated colour” (agate waters, agate sky) is still labeled as an attributive noun.

    I’m a bit surprised that OED doesn’t impose a policy on whether “made of…” premodifiers are adjectives; either the writers of different entries haven’t talked to each other about it or they don’t mind being inconsistent.

    In the “made of” sense, it seems perverse to call such words adjectives.

    I agree, but dictionaries generally seem to assume that if it modifies a noun, it’s an adjective. Other dictionaries are less detailed than the OED and less likely to distinguish a “made of…” sense, but if they do, it’s probably labeled adj.

    salima bʋtiŋ [“cup made of gold”] … *salimbʋtiŋ would have to be, not a cup made of gold, but a cup for gold, or something.

    English is much more cavalier about sticking nouns together without recording any such clues about their relationship. Take paper towel, paper knife, paper hanger: you can at least tell in speech that the first is different from the other two, since it’s stressed on TOWEL instead of PAPER, but there’s no clue to indicate that the second is a tool and the third is a person, you just have to memorize it. French, I think, (and Kusaal?) distinguishes them in form: serviette en papier, coupe-papier, poseur de papiers (or tapissier, but poseur de papiers is probably possible, too?).

  77. David Eddyshaw says

    No, Kusaal is actually pretty vague about the meaning of noun-noun compounds where the second element is not deverbal, much like English, e.g.

    bifuug “children’s shirt” (i.e. suitable for children; but might be the property of a small woman, say: contrast biig fuug “a child’s shirt”, i.e. belonging to a particular child)
    za’anɔɔr “gate” (“compound-mouth”)
    nasaabugum “electricity” (“European fire”)
    teŋbiig “native” (“country-child”)
    wabmɔɔgin “in elephant country” (“elephant-bush-at”)

    When the second element is deverbal, the first element is a verb argument, much as with the familiar compound types in many European languages. e.g.

    salimkuos “gold-merchant”
    widkuos “horse-seller”
    winliir “sunset” (“sun-falling”)
    bulsigid “well-diver”

    The real peculiarity of noun compounds in Kusaal (and Oti-Volta generally) is that the first element can be the head, preceding an adjective or dependent pronoun which compounds with it:

    widsʋŋ “good horse” (wief “horse”, plural widi)
    widsʋma “good horses”
    widkaŋa “this horse”
    widbamma “these horses”
    widsʋmbamma “these good horses”

    This is the standard construction for dependent adjectives, demonstratives and indefinite pronouns, so in practice head-first compounds are much the commonest sort you encounter. Apparently the clever Chomskyites have proved by logic that, with demonstratives, this is not possible and such constructions cannot exist, but it seems that word of this discovery has not got to West Africa yet.

    Kusaal also does bahuvrihi adjectives:

    nɔbwɔk “long leg” (nɔbir “leg”)
    widnɔbwɔk “long-legged horse”
    widnɔbwa’ad “long-legged horses”

  78. David Marjanović says

    Ah. In rest home I hear a real [th] cluster, with a released [t] followed by [h]. In penthouse the [h] is completely missing as far as I can currently tell; the [t] is long and loud, but not even aspirated, I think.

    But then, the speaker in the rest home video seems to be making an effort to speak slowly & clearly, the one in the penthouse video not so much.

    In German do you have the same (lack of) separation after s in Hausapotheke, Hausarzt, Hausdurchsuchung?

    I don’t make a distinction between these: -[sa]-, -[saː]-, -[sd̥]-. People who put a glottal stop in front of every stressed vowel-initial syllable might have enough secondary stress on the Arzt part to put a glottal stop into Hausarzt, but I’m not sure.

    What is clear is that people with prevocalic [z] don’t use one in the first two.

    Take paper towel, paper knife, paper hanger: you can at least tell in speech that the first is different from the other two, since it’s stressed on TOWEL instead of PAPER

    Ah, that makes perfect sense. What destroys it is the final-stressed Christmas Day – or is Christmas capable of being an adjective, too?

    Actually the word that I translated “even” means “[if] you want”.

    Oh, is it the imperative…

  79. PlasticPaddy says

    @dm
    CHRISTmas DAY matches SUNday EVEning or TUESday MORning as default stress pattern. I think this is the main reason, although the Christmas period as such starts on the evening of the 24th. Compare MIDsummer NIGHT.

  80. I don’t know. It can be used with imperative: “you can even do X, I don’t care”, “you can even do X, it won’t be enough/is futile” where X is something unrealistic.

    E.g. friendly but colloquial (carelessness can easily become hostile):

    “May I borrow your computer for 10 minutes?” “да хоть for whole day!”.

    Also
    “what if I do X {to solve our problem}?” “да хоть X-IMP, хоть don’t X-IMP, it changes nothing'”.
    “what if I use tool X {to solve our problem}?” “да хоть X хоть Y {or “not X”}…”

    In this case X is realistic, but the construtction is differnet.

    So you want to translate it with “if you like”. And the root is clearly related to хотеть “to want’.

    There are also variants
    хошь (clearly from хочешь “you want” and similar to вишь, ишь, either from “you see” or from an imperative form) and
    хучь

    (also there is a noun хоть…)

  81. Vasmer хоть

    f. “супруг, жена” [spouce (m), wife], also “страстное желание, похоть” [passionate desire, lust], Arkhangelsk (Dahl), Ukrainian хiть f., gen. хо́тi “желание” [desire], OR. хоть “желание; любимая, жена; возлюбленный, любимец” [desire; beloved one (f), wife; beloved one (m), favorite], OSlavonic хоть ἐπιθυμία, μοιχός (Супр.), Czech сhоt᾽, gen. сhоti “жених, супруг, супруга” [groom, spouce (m), spouce (f)]. Related to хоте́ть, initially “желание, страсть” [desire, passion]. See next.

    хотя́

    dialect хоча́, Ukrainian хоть, хоч, Old Polish сhосiа, Polish сhосiа, сhосiаż “хотя”. Usually identified with old present active particple Old Russian хотя “желающий”, Old Slavonic хотѩ – id.; see Соболевский, ЖМНП, 1904, март, стр. 182; Брандт, РФВ 22, 126. Hence хоть obtained by contraction. Polish forms contain -а just as OP rzeka, OR река instead of *рекы (Лось, RS 6, 245 и сл.; Розвадовский, RS 2, 4 и сл.). Остен-Сакен (IF Anz. 28, 36) differently but unconvincingly attemps to identify in сhосiа a case form from сhоć (see хоть).

    Хотя/хоть means “even though”, while the meaning I described above (with imperatives) is always хоть (when it is not хошь or хучь. Хошь is also used as a contraction from хочешь).

    Cf.:
    вишь

    I
    I. “смотри-ка”, rather an allegro form from ви́дишь than old 2p. sg. imperative mood вижь: OSlavonic виждь, Cz. viz “смотри” [look]. Соболевский (Лекции 251) and Дурново (Очерк 333) prefer the second explanation.
    II
    ….

  82. I love that word вишь!

    Bulgakov:
    ― Какая красивая, ― без зависти, но с грустью и с каким-то тихим умилением проговорил Иван, ― вишь ты, как у вас всё хорошо вышло.

    Turgenev:
    Да вы не побрезгуйте, барин, не погнушайтесь несчастием моим, ― сядьте вон на кадушечку, поближе, а то вам меня не слышно будет… вишь я какая голосистая стала!

    Tolstoy:
    Вишь, поганец, тоже жениться хочет, подлец!

  83. People who put a glottal stop in front of every stressed vowel-initial syllable might have enough secondary stress on the Arzt part to put a glottal stop into Hausarzt, but I’m not sure
    I do that.

  84. So you want to translate it with “if you like”. And the root is clearly related to хотеть “to want’.

    There are also variants
    хошь (clearly from хочешь “you want” and similar to вишь, ишь, either from “you see” or from an imperative form) and
    хучь

    Recently, maybe on this blog via a quote, some internut* got upset over an American’s answer to a question about how to get to location X: “You wanna go another mile down the road, then turn right …”

    I don’t remember what was supposed to be wrong about “want to”. My idea was that it is a polite circumlocution, to avoid an imperative.

    As a young nation we may, as individuals, still feel uneasy with subjunctives and other fancy talk. In foreign policy, however, we do not hesitate to tell other people what to do.

    *Do I mean “internaut” ? Nope.

  85. I mentioned to my son the other day that I don’t think every country should get to coin it’s own name for spacefarers. The Chinese inventing their own Sino-Greek chimera a few years ago reminder me that this was a problem. So I think they should just all be cosmonauts. I pick that over astronauts just because I think it’s a better name, not so much because the Soviets beat us sending a man into space. If NASA had known they were racing for naming rights, maybe they would have sent Alan Shepard up instead of Ham the chimp. After all, there were only minimal technical differences between the three crewed Redstone* rocket missions; the use of a chimp the first time was purely precautionary.

    * When I told James this, he quipped that he had no idea the first American spacecraft had been built in Minecraft. I had never really thought about it before, but I pointed out that the Minecraft redstone, used for automation, was probably named after the ballistic missile**/rocket family.

    ** All American space rockets prior to the Saturn V designed for Apollo were repurposed ballistic missiles: Redstone, Titan, and Atlas for crewed launches.

  86. David Marjanović says

    CHRISTmas DAY matches SUNday EVEning or TUESday MORning as default stress pattern.

    But the last two (shared with German) strike me as frozen contrastive stress. So maybe Christmas Day is too, opposed to Christmas Eve, and Midsummer Night to Midsummer Day?

  87. Yes, Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day are not stressed like May Day or Mother’s Day or Memorial Day, because the “Day” is not part of the holiday name in the same way. You add “Day” only if you’re making some sort of contrast, with “Eve” or with a longer holiday period.

  88. People who put a glottal stop in front of every stressed vowel-initial syllable might have enough secondary stress on the Arzt part to put a glottal stop into Hausarzt, but I’m not sure
    I do that.

    So do I. And there is also a glottal stop in Hausarbeit, where there is no stress involved. The only words where the glottal stop was lost (leading to re-syllabification) are words like herein, herum, herunter, hinein, hinunter, which in colloquial German are usually shortened to “‘rein”, “rum” and “runter” (rarely found in print). When I was a kid (1960s), there were still some persons who pronounced these words with a glottal stop; even then, this sounded artificial and stilted. Even our German teachers didn’t do this. But apart from these cases, the glottal stop is obligatory, even though it may be somewhat weakened.

  89. David Marjanović says

    in colloquial German

    Somewhat regional. Very often found in writing in real or fictional dialog.

    When I was a kid (1960s), there were still some persons who pronounced these words with a glottal stop; even then, this sounded artificial and stilted.

    Wouldn’t be surprised to find out that it was one of those pronunciations consciously adopted to avoid the temptation of spelling them with rr. Even in Austria, where glottal stops are strictly postpausal, there are people who make a point of at least not pronouncing a consonantal /r/ in Interesse.

  90. “The Chinese inventing their own Sino-Greek chimera a few years ago reminder me that this was a problem. ”

    I am not sure if ti were “the Chinese”. The word does not belong to the Chinese language and lives in European languages on the China-West contact surface. The few early reports that I found say that it was adopted by some “enthusiasts”, but not Chinese official sources (but they do not discuss what those Chinese sources used for Chinese… spacefarers in English).

    E.g. Popular Science, October 2000: ‘One enthusiast coined the term “taikonaut,” from the Chinese “tai kong,” or “outer space.” However, Chinese officials and newspapers prefer “yuhangyuan,” roughly translated as “space navigator.

    Wiktionary cites South African Mail and Guardian online, Taikonaut? Yuhangyuan?, from October 2005 that says:

    ‘China displays a remarkable lack of consensus on what to call its men in orbit….’
    ‘….Chinese officials do not particularly like this newly-coined word, and state-run newspapers mostly stick to the more technical term “hangtianyuan”, meaning “space navigator”. However, “taikonaut” could eventually win out, because it is relatively easy for foreigners to pronounce, and because it alludes to terms for the profession coined by existing space powers. The world public seems to overwhelmingly prefer “taikonaut.” A Google search on “taikonaut” yields 67 000 results, with “yuhangyuan” a distant second, leading to just 891 results, while “hangtianyuan” had just 118 entries…

    astro- vs. cosmo-:
    … Meanwhile, both terms have been translated into Chinese as either “hangtianyuan” or “yuhangyuan,” while Xinhua news agency in its English dispatches invariably uses the word “astronaut”….’

  91. I learned it in early 2000s either from TV or on a Russian forum (populated by expats) as a curiousity and forgot it completely. When I read Brett, I tried to invent such a word, but I don’t know Chinese:( The “mythological” China (China of wuxia) would have heavenly or celestial -nauts. I am somewhat satisfied that hangtianyuan actually refers to the sky.

  92. As a child I (1) found “astronaut” illogical (we haven’t reached stars yet) (2) took some pleasure in knowing that these names depend on the nationality of -nauts, often within the same (Russian or English) language. They are not seen as Russian or English “translations”, “words for” (like “cup” and чашка) – they are international, but gendered, like different names for similar items of male and female wardrobes.

    When I learned Latin nauta “sailor” (Gr. ναύτης) I re-intepreted “astronaut” poetically. Another possible argument that can motivate astro- is other words like astronomer.

    On the other hand, the Russian word is a very straitforward analogy “space” – “sea”: we call the outer space “cosmos” (reserving our much longer word for space for geometry, space-time and spacious rooms).

    A spacewalk is “exit/coming out in the open cosmos”, a partial analogy with the open sea (ships – rather than sailors – “go out into the open sea”).

  93. David Marjanović says

    analogy “space” – “sea”

    Space Is An Ocean with space whales and space pirates!

  94. drasvi said:

    Also I don’t know if “they’re [amber, gold, …]” … about a collection of earrings etc. and “they’re [rubber]” …about say, stamps is acceptable English at all. Is it?

    My intuition says… possibly? It’s not an immediately obvious “yes” as it is for “an amber earring”. Let’s see if COCA can help. Well, it can’t help with amber, because there are too many uses as a color or name mixed in. But for materials that aren’t colors or names, the answer is “yes, but much less often”, e.g. (these are all completely acceptable to me: context helps!):

    The map was silk so he could roll it small and stuff it into a pocket
    The bandages are cotton and much less elastic than the bandages usually used on sprained ankles.
    It’s rubber! You see? It’s a fake gun!
    The floor within was marble.
    She’s got a camera bag. – It’s nylon. – So? This one’s leather.

    … where “much less often” means these are about 100x less frequent, for each of these nouns, than attributive uses (silk scarf, marble steps, etc.) That would explain why I wasn’t quite sure.

    I haven’t noticed any citations in the OED’s “made of…” senses that are predicative uses like that; they’re all attributive, like “an amber earring”. They don’t have 100 citations per sense, so it may be low-frequency enough to escape their notice.

    However, if we’re testing for adjectivehood: a full-fledged adjective should also work with other linking verbs, as in “It seems/appears/looks/etc. ____.” I’m confident that’s not possible for any nouns of material (it would have to be “appears to be”, “looks like”, etc.) COCA backs up that intuition, with only a single exception found (“The sinks appeared marble”).

  95. From a German point of view, defining adjectives by being able to take the predicative position seems strange, because in that position they loose gender / number / case concord in German – so they are less adjective-y than in attributive position.

  96. David Eddyshaw says

    From a German point of view, defining adjectives by being able to take the predicative position seems strange

    Same with Kusaal: though (some) adjectives can be complements of “be”, this is only by a sort of special dispensation for cases where there is no morphologically derived form like an abstract noun or adverb that could be used instead; on the other hand, all sorts of quasi-adjectival things can be complements of “be” that can’t actually function as noun modifiers, e.g.

    Li anɛ na’ana.
    it be.FOCUS easy
    “It’s easy.”

    where na’ana can only be used predicatively (like “asleep”, in English.) To say “an easy task” you have to use a relative clause:

    tʋʋmkanɛ an na’ana
    work.that.NOMINALISER be easy

  97. context helps! … if we’re testing for adjectivehood: a full-fledged adjective should also work with other linking verbs … From a German point of view, defining adjectives by being able to take the predicative position seems strange

    Context helps only when you halfway understand what is being said, and that already requires context. There are verbal contexts and semantic contexts.

    In these examples

    1. Sie hat das Problem richtig gelöst.
    2. Sie hat das richtige Problem gelöst.

    the word richtig “means” two different things. We might as well say we have two different but semantically related words. To distinguish here between attributive and predicative uses is useless: which of the two is being used ? If you know that, you don’t need a primary distinction by position.

    Without short and long term memory, you can’t get off the ground with any of these lucubrations. Instead of trying to find static criteria, how about analyzing speech and understanding in terms of look-ahead PDAs (pushdown automata) ? They give you a kind of dynamic memory.

    Remember they were invented by Chomsky, Schützenberger et al. They ruined linguistics by going full metal jacket on the subject. Forget the math, just take a dynamic approach. You can kill someone with a tomato, but that’s no good reason to reject salsa roja.

  98. David Eddyshaw says

    You can kill someone with a tomato

    That sounds as if it might be a useful survival skill in the forthcoming societal collapse.

    Are details available online?

  99. An accident happened to my brother Jim
    When somebody threw a tomato at him
    Tomatoes are juicy and don’t hurt the skin
    But this one was specially packed in a tin.

  100. Stu Clayton says

    The Ys have it !

  101. David Eddyshaw says

    Sadly the video is sketchy on the mechanics of the slaying. I am still unclear as to how to defend myself against zombie hordes or American survivalists armed only with a tomato (tins are surely cheating.) It appears that some prior training of the tomato might be necessary.

  102. Stu Clayton says

    Training Tomatoes: A Crash Course for Beginners

    Here is a trainer in a training trance. Note how he speaks out of the corner of his mouth. Towards the end of that crash course I did last year, the speech trainer asked: why do you speak out of the corner of your mouth ? Why are you so slack-jawed ? To speak German properly, you need to pull your face together !

  103. David Eddyshaw says

    Thanks, Stu. That is helpful. However, it is light on the military aspects of tomato-training.

  104. January First-of-May says

    AFAIK tomatoes (especially if overripe) work as a pretty decent impromptu replacement for banana peels if you can’t get a banana.

    IIRC some parts of the plant are poisonous. Apparently not very poisonous, though.

  105. David Eddyshaw says

    Here is a trainer in a training trance

    He does have a somewhat unsettling psychopathic look about him. He may be a secret adept of the Way of the Tomato. I feel we are making progress here.

  106. From a German point of view, defining adjectives by being able to take the predicative position seems strange,

    @Hans, my idea was that if “you are X” means “you are made of X”, then one of meanings of “X” is “made of X”.

    More precisely: if “you are [name of material]” does not mean “you are made of it”, it excludes your word from the class of words like “red” that have a property ‘“this dress is red” means “this dress is a red dress”‘.

  107. 1. Sie hat das Problem richtig gelöst.
    2. Sie hat das richtige Problem gelöst.

    If I remember my school grammar correctly, in 1) richtig is used as an adverb, not predicatively. A test for this is whether you can expand to auf die richtige Weise with the same meaning, which is possible here.
    Predicative use would be *das Problem ist richtig, which doesn’t make sense for Problem, while it works for e.g. Frage or Antwort.

  108. @drasvi: my remark wasn’t addressed to you, but to the way adjectives are defined by at least part of English grammarians, e.g. CGEL.
    As for the test you propose, German is much closer to Russian than to English in this regard, because it has a clear morphological distinction between nouns and adjectives; therefore your test isn’t necessary to establish whether a word is a noun or an adjective. And in German, what you’d have to say is X is aus (insert noun designating material), so your test doesn’t work.

  109. “auf die richtige Weise ”

    @Hans, hm. If you solved it incorrectly, you haven’t solved it at all.
    But some teachers give assignments like “solve the probem b) by such and such method”. I expect them to use auf die richtige Weise….

  110. “my remark wasn’t addressed to you, but to the way adjectives are defined by at least part of English grammarians, e.g. CGEL.”

    @Hans, I agree with PP. I suspect that in:

    (i) They can function as Modifier of a noun (big ideas).
    (ii) They can function as Predicative Complement (This is big).
    (iii) They can be modified by adverbs of degree (very big).

    …(i) is a necessary criterion. If “asleep” does not feel like an adjective to native speakers (as for PP) then the only reason to put it into the category is “we need to assign some part of speech to them”.

  111. David Eddyshaw says

    I think CGEL’s point in this is that “parts of speech” are not necessarily clearcut; something like “adjective” can comprise a set of “family resemblances” rather than a neat category with a straightforward one-size-fits-all “definition.”

    “Asleep” is, at least, not so completely unlike “big” that one necessarily has to exile it from the domain of “adjectives” altogether. The only reason for doing so would be an ideological a priori commitment to the idea that every “part of speech” must have a neat exception-free unique definition. Although in theory you could perhaps try to develop a naming scheme like that, in English (at any rate) you’d end up with a huge number of different “parts of speech” and the resulting system would be scarcely usable.

    And many perfectly respectable nouns and verbs have odd idiosyncratic lexical limitations on the constructions they can be used in. Non omnia possumus omnes.

    I don’t think English is alone in this, either. (As Edward Sapir said: “All grammars leak.”)

  112. PlasticPaddy says

    @de
    1. You could equally say the distinction between nouns and personal pronouns should be abandoned in favour of a single family (does CGEL do that?).
    2. I think that things like away/asleep/in love/etc., pattern much more similarly with one another than to other “normal” adjectives, and the underlying grammatical form is a prepositional phrase indicating dynamic/evolving state or state transformation; this is clear in “in love” but has been obscured in the others. Whether this is worth creating a separate class or including them (as some kind of subclass within an adjective class) is as you say a decision to be taken by the one defining the grammar.

  113. David Eddyshaw says

    You could equally say the distinction between nouns and personal pronouns should be abandoned in favour of a single family (does CGEL do that?)

    Yes, more or less: they call personal pronouns a subclass of noun.

    (They discuss the rationale for this in the pdf I linked to above.)

  114. @DE, but what are reasons to include “asleep” in adjectives? […] in “Jack is [….]” can be many things. Big, a man, crap, pure gold, out, good people. Are all of them adjectives?

  115. Exceptionless parts of speech in English: “English has eight parts of speech: Nouns, Adjectives, Verbs, N+A, N+V, A+V, N+A+V, Particles.”

    tins are surely cheating

    American, explaining what to do with excess vegetables: “We eat all we can, and what we can’t, we can [all with TRAP].”

    Englishman, trying to repeat the joke: “We eat all we can, and what we can’t [BATH], we put up in tins—???”

    That said, the joke no longer works for Americans with phonemic /æ/-tensing, which affects the first can but not the second.

  116. CGEL:

    Central members of the adjective category have the cluster of syntactic properties given [below]:

    i function. They can appear in three main functions: attributive (happy people), predicative (They are happy), postpositive (someone happy).

    ii gradability. They are gradable, and hence accept such degree modifiers as very, too, enough, and have inflectional or analytic comparatives and superlatives (happier, happiest, more useful, most useful).

    iii dependents. They characteristically take adverbs as modifiers (remarkably happy, surprisingly good).

    CGEL concedes that asleep, alive, and others are odd in that they can’t be used attributively, but asleep also can’t take degree modifiers (very much can apply to it, but also to nouns) or adverbial modifiers. I’m not sure about how it might be used postpositively.

    Quirk et al. (the “Comprehensive”, not “Cambridge” CGEL) call asleep a marginal adjective, along with some othes far from the proto

  117. Latin (Russian, etc.) parts of speech are to a large extent motivated by morphology. In English you can’t do that.

    Should we speak about “English parts of speech” at all then?

    Even if there were (is there?) stong parallelism between Latin and English groupings, a mapping from Latin to English would look like a projection where the morphological dimension disappears. Then you have to rely on everything else: semantics, syntax – maybe even intonation and prosody (paperhat above) – more.

  118. Should we speak about “English parts of speech” at all then?

    They are not all the same. Dog, big, however, think, etc. are clearly syntactically distinct. But there are significantly many in-between cases, unlike in Latin.

  119. @Y: Thanks for the quote from CGEL. It seems I misunderstood the previous quotes from CGEL – predicative use is not the main criterion, only one of them, even if it’s the deciding criterion for putting “asleep” with the adjectives.
    Concerning “asleep”, I’d rather go with PP and group it with prepositional phrases.

  120. Since the concept of ‘word’ is so leaky in itself (see recent works by Adam Tallman), putting “asleep” together with some prepositional phrases and calling it <something> sounds perfectly reasonable, if they match well. That’s for the next giant comprehensive English grammar…

  121. American, explaining what to do with excess vegetables: “We eat all we can, and what we can’t, we can [all with TRAP].”

    Your hypothetical Englishman is a straw man set up by people who don’t actually know.

    In Australia, the middle “can” (i.e. “can’t”) doesn’t use the TRAP vowel, but the wordplay still works. The word “can” can be used to mean “put into cans”, so there is no real problem.

  122. Even if there were (is there?) stong parallelism between Latin and English groupings, a mapping from Latin to English would look like a projection where the morphological dimension disappears. Then you have to rely on everything else: semantics, syntax – maybe even intonation and prosody (paperhat above) – more.

    That’s why the structuralists came up with “distribution” to classify parts of speech, along, of course, with phonetics/prosody. I think it’s been a very long time since people used pure morphology to classify parts of speech in English.

  123. David Eddyshaw says

    A nice case of a similar “marginal” adjective in Kusaal is the word kasi “holy.”

    I never heard this word at all when I was in Ghana; it seems to have been borrowed from Mampruli, and drafted into the 2016 Bible translation, where it appears frequently. Tony Naden’s dictionary says there was some controversy about this.

    Anyway, in the vast majority of its occurrences in the Old Testament, it is used predicatively: li an kasi “it is holy”, and when an adjectival construction is called for, a relative clause is used:

    m zuokanɛ an kasi la
    I hill.that.NOMINALISER be holy the
    “my holy mountain” (“my mountain which is holy”)

    In other words, kasi has been assimilated into a small but already-existing category of Kusaal words, “predicative ideophones”, like na’ana “easy” (that I cited above), sapi “straight”, nyain “bright.” It also fits the pattern for such words in being aberrant structurally: kasi is not a possible noun, adjective or verb form.

    And then you get to the New Testament …

    “Holy Spirit” in the previous Bible versions is Sisʋŋ “good siig“, where siig in the traditional scheme of things actually means “life force”, but was forcibly coopted early on to render the alien concept “spirit, soul.” (The 1996 translation consistently writes it Siig Sʋŋ, but the audio version is always the expected Sisʋŋ, with the head noun reduced to a bare stem before the adjective, as is right and proper in Oti-Volta.)

    But in the 2016 version they replaced this by Siig Kasi. I think the “controversy” that Naden reports was over kasi being a foreign Mampruli word, but it seems to me that a more cogent objection ought to be that it’s outright ungrammatical: no other “predicative ideophone” can be construed like this. Sadly, the Kusaasi have no prescriptive grammarians to show them the way …

    The wheel turns further: Naden’s dictionary has a a couple of examples of a well-behaved adjective stem kas- “holy”, presumably extracted from kasi:

    pu’asadir “young woman who has not yet given birth”, plural pu’asada.
    pu’asadkasir “virgin”, plural pu’asadkasa

    It seems like kasi is tired of being marginal, and wants to be a real boy adjective.

  124. “distribution”

    deep-brick-red-lip-stick

  125. In Russian there is no question if brick in “brick wall” is an adjective.

    kirpich-n-aya, “brick” “adjectival suffix” “adjectival feminine nominative”.
    And no question about predicates: even in the short form (that’s without -ay-) it retains -n-.

  126. David Eddyshaw says

    Well, Russian derives adjectives from nouns at the drop of a hat, and even uses them where English would have a possessive: Капитанская дочка.

  127. PlasticPaddy says

    @de
    I am not sure if kapitanskaja dochka is not really something like Frau Geheimrat — could you also have muzhikskaja dochka (Frau Bauer would be a woman surnamed Bauer, I think Bäuerin exists as farmer’s wife/ female farmer, but she is not called Frau Bäurin either)?

  128. muzhitskaya doch’” exists (a reference to status, not as a daughter of a particular known peasant (the peasant). Cf. son of a bitch).

  129. David Eddyshaw says

    There are any number of Hatters who know more than me about this, but FWIW Unbegaun’s Russian Grammar (pp116f) describes “possessive adjectives” formed with -ин as being “frequent, although restricted to nouns of endearment in -а, -я, whether Christian names or nouns denoting kinship.” It goes on to give adjectives like сестрин “sister’s.” It reports the form as only being productive in such cases, although there are fixed phrases like сукин сын “son of a bitch.”

    Interestingly, according to Lunt’s Old Church Slavonic grammar (p146) “the possessive genitive is replaced by possessive adjectives if the possessor is represented by a substantive which denotes a person or animal and which is not otherwise modified”, e.g. tektonovъ synъ “son of the carpenter.”

  130. “He was a titular councillor, she was general-skaya daughter….”

    (a famous – I guess because of this realistically farcical first line – romance )

  131. I really like Spanish “infantile garden” and “familiar medical clinic”.

  132. @DE, short forms of names are just the most common -a words from which you would want to form a possessive.

    But I do say koshkin “the cat’s” and I would not hesitate to say directrisin (but not stuardessin, because it is unlikely that I’ll refer to a stuardess “the stuardess”… or even “Stuardess”).
    Or ninin (Nina is a name that does not have a short form).

  133. “to a stuardess”

    to a steWardess, of course:)

  134. And then there’s Queen Anne, who was a Stuartess.

  135. (Frau Bauer would be a woman surnamed Bauer, I think Bäuerin exists as farmer’s wife/ female farmer, but she is not called Frau Bäurin either)?
    Yes, Bäuerin means “female farmer / farmer’s wife”; referring to women with Frau and their profession in the female form sounds old-fashioned now, but about 40 years ago it was still usual to address e.g. female teachers as Frau Lehrerin, and Frau Wirtin used to be a usual adress for landladies until about mid-20th century.
    Nowadays it’s not done anymore to address women with Frau and the title / profession of their husbands, but to my knowledge, at least for Professor / Doktor the male form was used.
    As for last names, at least in some varieties of German it was possible to add -in to them to create a female form (see Schiller’s Luise Millerin), but AFAIK that’s not part of any kind of Standard German for about a century at least anymore.

  136. David Marjanović says

    Unless things have radically changed in the last 12 years, you still don’t address your teachers by their names in Austria.

    As for last names, at least in some varieties of German it was possible to add -in to them to create a female form

    Still in Classical Viennese in the 1970s apparently. But thoroughly forgotten, and definitely not standard for much longer than that. Very common in earlier centuries, though.

  137. Lars Mathiesen says

    Denmark: lærerinde was, no surprise, a lower pay grade than lærer, and before maybe 1950 it was not possible to cross that gender barrier. So Fru Lærerinde was not only customary, but a fact. (Except that married women were not supposed to work, and in some institutions it was a rule strictly adhered to. So Frøken Lærerinde).

    According to an etiquette guide I once read, you would address a letter to the doctor’s wife as Fru Doktor Hansen, while a female MD would be Doktor Fru Hansen. (L doctrix didn’t make it to Danish, if indeed it ever was a thing). I don’t know if it would extend to Fru Lærer Hansen and Lærerinde Frøken Hansen — as things were set up, a lærerinde would probably not be married to a lærer so there was no need to disambiguate.

  138. Unless things have radically changed in the last 12 years, you still don’t address your teachers by their names in Austria.
    Wait, not even by Herr / Frau Lastname? That was the standard even back in the 70s when I went to school; Herr Lehrer etc. was something elementary school children would say and even then mostly a default address when they didn’t know a teacher’s last name.

  139. “in some institutions it was a rule”
    Wow, I didn’t know this!

    I heard complaints (Swabia) that “neighbours give looks”, but I did not know that it ever was a rule.

  140. David Marjanović says

    Wait, not even by Herr / Frau Lastname?

    Nope. Of course it helps that Gymnasium teachers automatically acquire the title Professor after a few years, so all Gymnasium teachers are addressed as Herr/Frau Professor just like actual university professors. (I don’t have time now to transcribe how that actually sounds in Vienna.)

    Last names are only used if disambiguation is necessary, and to Professor they’re added, they don’t replace it.

  141. Lars Mathiesen says

    Until a 1943 verdict to the contrary, Danish nurses would lose their job if they married.

  142. David Eddyshaw says

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