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Adjectives as a word class with nominal and verbal features

Forschungsarbeit 2012 17 Seiten


Adjectives as a word class with nominal and verbal features

The class of words, no matter of lexical and semantic differences they have from class to class, take and give from one another. This inteterrelationship of word classes is universal in human languages. But classes which represent a closer relation regarding lexical and semantic aspect with each other are nouns, verbs and adjectives. If we consider the semantic side of fhe words of these three classes in different languages, we shall observe that they are similar to each other. This semantic and lexical similarity of these classes derives from word formation themes which they are formed from. According to Dixon and Aikenvald, this interrelationship of word classes, differs from one language to another; in some languages adjectives are formed from nominal word formation themes (adjectives as nouns not as verbs); in some languages adjectives are formed mainly from verbs (according to them, adjectives in these languages are as verbs but not as nouns); in some other languages adjectives are formed from nominal and verbal word formation themes (according to them, adjectives in these languages are as verbs and as nouns) for example: Albanian, German. English etc. and eventually in some languages “their adjectives come out not as verbs and not as nouns", which means that these languages are not familiar with the derivation of adjectives from nouns and verbs[1].

Adjectives as a word class with nominal and verbal features are represented in many languages, e.g. Latin, English, German, Spanish, Serbo-Croatian, Turkish (as a non-Indo-European language), and Albanian etc. These are few examples (a) of adjectives as nouns and (b) adjectives as verbs in each mentioned language.

a) Lat. vita , ae n. (jetë) - vitalis adj. (jetësor-e); aurum n. (ar) - aureus adj. (i artë);

Eng. wool n. (lesh-i) - woolen adj . (i leshtë);

Ger . die Wolle f. (lesh-i) - wollig adj . (i leshtë) ( ein wolliger Pullover)[2] ;

Span. lana n. (lesh-i) - lanar, adj. (leshtor, leshtak); hielo n. (akull) - helado adj. (i akullt);

Serb. gvožđe n. (hekur) - gvozden adj. (i hekurt); rad n. (punë) - rad-nik adj. (punues);

Tur. n. (punë) -- lemeli adj. (i punuar); altɪn n. (ar-i) - altɪndan adj. (i,e artë);

Al. hekur n. - i hekurt adj.; lesh n. - i leshtë adj..

b) Lat. somnus v. (fle) - somnolentus adj. (i përgjumur); capto v. (zë) - captus, adj. ( i zënë).

Eng. open v. (hap) - open adj. (i hapur);

Ger.. schlafen v. (fle) - schläfrig adj. (i përgjumur) ; schlaflos adj. (i pagjumë)[3] ;

Span. dormir v. (fle) - dormilado adj. ( i jetur, i përgjumur)[4] ;

Serb. spavati v. ( fle) - spavljiv adj. (i përgjumshëm);

Tur. uyumak v. (fle) - uykulu [5] adj. (i fjetur, i përgjumur);

Al. mbyll v. - i mbyllur, i mbyllët, mbyllës adj.

Such a comparison, with above mentioned examples, comes out with a fact that adjectives as a word class in Albanian, as well as in many other languages, appear with nominal and verbal features.(not considering to talk here about adjectives with numeral and adverbial features). Now we shall treat separately the class of adjectives with nominal features and the class of adjectives with verbal features. In these lexical and semantic movements some of four semantic elements, which according to Jani Thomai are: "the preserved semantic element, the extinct semantic element, the varied semantic element and added (new) semantic element"[6]. Of course that we can not look for the four minimal semantic units in every lexical and semantic movement. In this commentary, we shall more concentrate on the varied, preserved and added semantic elements of adjectives and generative themes which they are formed from.

a) Adjectives as a word class with nominal features

Albanian language has few simple words which are simply with adjective features; many of them come from other word classes. Many of them are of nominal derivation. In Albanian, a great number of adjectives are formed from nominal themes (Nth) by lexical and semantic movement.(derivation and conversion). From the time of first written documents in Albanian, adjectives with nominal features are represented as an occurrence widely spread all over the country.

One model of articulated adjectives are formed from a nominal theme, and at the same time taking a prepositive article and word formation suffixes –(ë)t(ë). With these adjectives the word formation theme of a noun is a lexical and semantic core which keeps the semantic nominal values of adjectives, e.g . i artë (ar), vermë (verë), i hekurt (hekur), i dyshimtë (dyshim), i dylltë (dyllë), i thekërt thekër), i themeltë (themel), i vrulltë (vrull), i zhymët (zhymë, moçalor) i zhivët (zhivë), i flashët (flashkë), i tymtë (tym), (i veshët (veshti-a), i misërt (misër), i drunjtë (dru), i akullt (akull), i lëkurtë (lëkurë), i argjendtë (argjend), i qelqtë (qelq), i leshtë (lesh), i kristaltë (kristal), i bakërt (bakër), i alumintë (alumin), i mjegullt (mjegull), i avullt (avull), i gaztë (gaz), i dhjamtë (dhjamë), i pambuktë (pambuk), mëndafshtë (mëndafsh), i gurtë (gur), i metaltë (metal), i rregullt (rregull), i tingullt (tingull), i agimtë (agim), i ajërt, i ahtë (ah-u), i flaktë (flakë) i qullët (qull), i brumtë (brumë) etc. As one can see, the group of above mentioned adjectives has derived from nominal themes by taking an article and the suffix (ë)t(ë) which nominate the subject which a thing consists of. This semantic relation between a noun and an adjective is enabled by nominal theme, which is the same in both classes. Language is continually enriched by formation of a new unit from the previous lexical and grammatical one. This is an economical language content of a language, of Albanian as well.

These new lexical units are formed by relating the semantic theme to the word formation formant together forming a new lexeme. In these building of derivative lexemes, the main comprehensive value and weigh is conveyed by semantic productive theme, while the attached formant changes it into a different class and brings its modifications. As an example we shall take the adjective i leshtë, which is formed from a previous lexical and semantic unit (noun) e.g. from the theme of the noun lesh , prepositive article and the suffix –të, thus forming the adjective i leshtë. In this derivative word, nominal theme lesh, keeps its semantics, its subject comprehension, but the suffix –të modifies this subject comprehension giving the new word a relating sense "that is made of wool, that is woolen, that is manufactured with woolen fibers or fabric": fanellë e leshtë, çorapë të leshta; but also with an attributive meaning, "which has a lot of wool, covered with hair": lëkurë e leshtë, duar të leshta etc., coming out with this second meaning as a synonym of an attributive adjective, leshtor. But also in a relating sense, this adjective at the same time shows quality, because the quality of wool differs from the quality of cotton, silk and synthetical fibers (it means that they have different quality). As Sh. Demiraj claims, "all adjectives nominate quality"[7], but with the adjectives which are formed from nominal themes, together with the quality, the subject the thing consists of, is represented as well. The nominal theme as a semantic and lexical core, keeps a seme of a noun and adjective (subject), but as a generative theme of an adjective gets a new seme which is to qualify a new thing or a being, and which characterizes an adjective. On the other hand, nominal theme, which includes lexical and semantic core of an adjective, changes a seme which characterizes a noun (nomination of a subject or abstract occurrence etc.)

Another class of adjectives consists of adjectives derived from nominal theme and suffixes –shëm and –(ë)m(ë), e.g. i moralshëm / i pamoralshëm (moral), i fuqishëm (fuqi), i frytshëm (fryt), i rrezikshëm (rrezik), i kuptimshëm (kuptim), i natyrshëm (natyrë), i qushishëm (fuqi), i bujshëm (bujë), i rrufeshëm (rrufe), i nevojshëm (nevojë), i lëngsgëm (lëng), i famshëm (famë), i ligjshëm (ligj), i ligjikshëm (logjikë), i dobishëm (dobi), i moralshëm (moral), i frikshëm (frikë), i anshëm (anë), i yndyrshëm (yndyrë), i suksesshëm (sukses), i skajshëm (skaj), i lezetshëm (lezet), i figurshëm (figurë), i ankthshëm (ankth), i i hareshëm (hare), i vrullshëm (vrull), i rrëmujshëm (rrëmujë), i kobshëm (kob), i zakonshëm (zakon), i lavdishëm (lavdi), i lavdishëm (lavdi), i hijshëm (hije), i ngeshëm (nge), i ankthshëm (ankth), i rrezikshëm (rrezik), i flladshëm (fllad), i pjesshëm (pjesë), i stuhishëm (stuhi), i arsyeshëm (arsye), i melodishëm (melodi), i guximshëm (guxim), i fajshëm (faj), i njerëzishëm (njerëzi), i neveritshëm (nevrei), i autoritetshëm (autoritet), i qëllimshëm (qëllim), fisëm (fis), i mesëm, i rastësishëm (rastësi), i epshëm (epsh), ), i anshëm (anë), , i yndyrshëm (yndyrë), i frytshëm (fryt), i kuptimshëm (kuptim), i figurshëm (figurë), i fuqishëm (fuqi), i tmerrshëm (tmerr), i ligjshëm (ligj); i paligjshëm (i pa-ligj-shëm), i moralshëm (moral), i pamoralshëm (i pa-moral-shëm), i larmë (larë), i fisëm (fis), i mesëm (mes) etc. These derived adjectives represent quality, attribute, and abstract features of beings, things or occurrences. In this model of derivation formants i (article) and –shëm, -(ë)m(ë) are essential in constructing adjectives, but generative semantic theme keeps its values of the adjective formed from this theme itself, for example: [[ i + [ fis (Nth) ] + ëm ]] > i fisëm (comes from a good family, has good moral values, e.g. burrë i fisëm or [[ i + [rrezik (Nth) ] + shëm ]] > i rrezikshëm (dangerous, that could bring something bad, e.g. dangerous means). As it can be seen, semantic generative, nominal themes "rrezik" and "fis" keep nominal comprehension with the adjectives as well, whereas affixation formants change them into another lexical and grammatical lexeme.


[1] R.M.W. Dixon, Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald , Adjective Classes, Oxford, University Press, New York, 2004, p. 14–15.

[2] Großwörterbuch Deutsch als Fremdsprache, Langenscheidt KG, Berlin und München, 2008, p. 1238.

[3] A. Dhrimo , Fjalor gjermanisht–shqip, Toena, Tiranë, 2003, p. 778-779.

[4] K. Ndreu , Fjalor spanjisht–shqip, EDFA, Tiranë, witha. dt. edit., p. 369.

[5] Turkish as a non-Indo European language also forms adjectives from verbal themes. This shows that this occurrence is similar to many human languages and we agree with Dixon’s claim that "a great number of adjectives in different languages are formed from different classes by derivation".

[6] J. Thomai, Prejardhja kuptimore në gjuhën shqipe, EDFA, Tiranë, 2009, p. 100.

[7] Sh. Demiraj, Gramatika e gjuhës së sotme shqipe, Prishtinë, 1971 (first edit., Tiranë, 1967), p. 66.


ISBN (Buch)
552 KB
Institution / Hochschule
Universiteti i Prishtinës – Albanische Sprache



Titel: Adjectives as a word class with nominal and verbal features