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Syntax and Semantics of Adjectives in English and Arabic lan

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Transcript of Syntax and Semantics of Adjectives in English and Arabic lan

Syntax and Semantics of Adjectives in English and Arabic languages
By
Jamal Kamil Hamed Al - Tai

Abstract
Adjectives have not much been studied in linguistics compared to the large amount of work devoted to nouns . Many scholars have dealt with the concept of adjectives . But , there are no previous studies of adjectives in Arabic and English concerning the semantic viewpoint . The scope of the study is to know and recognize whether adjectives are randomly distributed or their use and ordering is governed by some syntactic and semantic rules or by the intuition of the native speakers concerning the real use and the shift of emphasis
So, the main problem that is talked in the present study is the syntactic and semantic perspective in English and Arabic adjectives. The importance of the study is hoped that the study would be useful ; particularly to the translators who encounter a large number of problems concerning the modification of adjective in English and Arabic . So , the value of this topic is derived from the benefit gained from the extra information given about adjectives ordering in syntax and semantic in both languages . The study aims at : Investigating the semantic aspects of adjectives in both languages , Finding out whether adjectives are distributed randomly or governed by rules established by the native speakers' intuitions , Discovering what syntactic and semantic aspects of adjectives based in both languages and ascribing the similarities and differences concerning the real usage of adjectives in both languages .
The methodolgy in this study can be summarized as in the researcher followed a contrastive analytical method of study in dealing with adjectives in two languages ; namely , English and Arabic ; A theoretical background of adjective ordering is given and an eclectic model which is syntactically and semantically based , Reviewing of the literature of adjectives in both languages and Analyzing the data collection from Arabic and English utterances depending on the problem faced the users or translators of both languages because of the modification of this topic.The results of this study show,Adjectives in Arabic are more complicated than in English ; because in Arabic , they traditionally belong to the class of nouns and they are in different types ,From syntactic rules in both languages function as modifiers of the head – noun either directly or indirectly and there is no one-to-onecorrespondence between the modification system in English and Arabic , because adjective in English premodify and postmodify the head . The recommendations of the study are that translator is supposed to have a syntactic and semantic knowledge as abasis for rendering any sequence of adjective and requires other translational abilities; Learners , teachers and students must be well familiarized with basic translational procedured and tehniques .
Objectives of the Study
The methodolgy in this study can be summarized as in the researcher followed a contrastive analytical method of study in dealing with adjectives in two languages ; namely , English and Arabic ; A theoretical background of adjective ordering is given and an eclectic model which is syntactically and semantically based , Reviewing of the literature of adjectives in both languages and Analyzing the data collection from Arabic and English utterances depending on the problem faced the users or translators of both languages because of the modification of this topic.The results of this study show,Adjectives in Arabic are more complicated than in English ; because in Arabic , they traditionally belong to the class of nouns and they are in different types ,From syntactic rules in both languages function as modifiers of the head – noun either directly or indirectly and there is no one-to-onecorrespondence between the modification system in English and Arabic , because adjective in English premodify and postmodify the head . The recommendations of the study are that translator is supposed to have a syntactic and semantic knowledge as abasis for rendering any sequence of adjective and requires other translational abilities; Learners , teachers and students must be well familiarized with basic translational procedured and tehniques .
The present study is an attempt to show the following aims :
1. To give a comprehensive study of adjectives in English and
Arabic .
2. To study adjectives ordering in English and Arabic .
3.To specify different patterns of adjective ordering in
different contexts in English.
4. To establish an eclectic model of adjective ordering
in English comparison syntax and semantics .
5. To indicate the positional order in which
adjectives occur in succession preceding a noun .
6. To show how the specified patterns are realized in Arabic .

Hypotheses of the Study
In the present study , it is hypothesized that :
1. Learners of the adjectives are ordering poses serious problems for
translators as well as in English .
2. Since , there is no one – to – one correspondence between the modific-
ation system in English and Arabic ; therefore , learners , writers who
adopt communicative translation are more successful than those who
adopt semantic translation .
3. Adjectives ordering in English is governed by syntactic and / or
semantic rules . While in Arabic , it is governed by native speakers'
intuition , language usage and the shift of emphasis .
4. There is no one – to – one correspondence between adjective ordering
in English and Arabic .

Adjectives in English
Syntactically Speaking , an adjective can appear in different positions in a sentence , as a modifier of the noun ( a useful story) or a complement of copular verbs like be (The story is interesting ) Semantically analyses , adjectives , more than other categories are able to take different meanings depending on their context . The following examples are illustrative .
1. A difficult child.
2. A difficult exam .
Krapp ( 1984 : 2 ) suggests the chief function of the adjectives is to point out
and describe persons or things , e.g.:
3. He picked up a smooth , round stone .
4.She is an intelligent lawyer .

The adjective can be defined as "a word that modifies ,or qualifies, a noun or ronoun , in of three forms of comparative degree :
Positive ( strong , beautiful ) ,
Comparative ( stronger , more beautiful ) , or
Superlative ( strongest , most beautiful ) . ( Adams, 1973 : 90 – 105 )
Macmillan ( 2006 : 55 ) focuses on an " adjective typically describes
quality or property attributed to nouns . " Adjectives have various types
of meanings , as follow :
A-physical qualities of color, size , shape , etc.… e.g. :
green , large , heavy , tall and round .
B- Psychological qualities of emotion , etc…
Funny , sad , amazing and interested .
C- Evaluative qualities : good , wrong , foolish , beautiful and clever .
D- qualities occurring with time : new , old , young , early and late .

Jackson ( 1990 : 125 ) argues that the " adjective commonly
occurs as modifiers before a noun in English. It takes the " attributive
position ." as :
20. Trembled when he touched her long warm fingers .
And it occurs after verbs of quality or temporary state in the " predicative
position ."
21. The oil was very warm .
Viet ( 1986 : 27- 32 ) says that an adjective is " a word that
describes or modifies a noun . " the Np. ( noun phrase ) is considered as
adjective as it is :
22. a- The native tourist lost a good camera .
b- Good studies make good marks .
Maxwell and Macmillan ( 2011 , English website Language )
remark that the adjectives " are the potbelly of poetry ". adjectives are
quiet interesting to teach the rules surrounding them.
Yule ( 2006 : 9 ) claims that the " adjectives are single word
(exciting , new , thorough ) and compounds ( hard- working , well
organized ) that can modify nouns .
23. The new soldier has exciting ideas .
24. She's hard-working and her rooms seem thorough and well-
organized
Baure ( 1997 : 3-4 ) attempts that an adjective tries to describe
how something " is". It is used to describe a noun . there is no (singular or
plural ) form , ( masculine , feminine and neuter ) in English adjectives .
Finally , Feder ( 2002 : 13 ) says another view's that adjective is often
defined as a " word which describes or gives more information about
noun or pronoun ." Adjective is usually describing nouns in terms of such
qualities as size , color , number and kind .


The researcher decided whether a word is an adjective or not , if the adjectives look at in isolation , because the form of the word does not necessarily indicate its syntactic function . The following examples are illustrative .
1. a – A round of golf . ( noun )
B – They round the corner . ( verb )
C – A round object . ( adjective )
D- He comes round to see us . ( adverb )
After this brief study , The adjectives in English can
summarize as follows :
1. Adjectives occur in the position among a noun- determiner , and
a noun or the position of adj. after linking verb, e.g. :
A- The strong player is very clever .
2. Adjectives usually have two divisions : derived adjectives and
base adjectives for example :
active ; Friendly ( derived Adjs. )
Deep ; safe ( base Adjs. )
3. Adjectives can be used attributively , e.g. :
B- The green hat is beautiful .
4. Adjectives can be used predicatively , e.g. :
C- The hat is green . ( Sevenonius , 2003 :3 )
5. Adjectives can premodify by intensifiers , e.g.:
D- The boys are very sad .
6. Adjectives normally have comparative and superlative form , e.g. :
E- Selma is older than Sara .
F- Selma is the oldest in the class .
7. Adjectives have not the plural form in English , e.g. :
G- Elsa likes hard candies .
8. Adjectives are called modifier , because they do something to


change or modify a noun , e.g. :
H- The doctor is tall , rich and handsome .
Quirk et al ( 1984 : 402-404 ) take four positions which are
considered as a characteristics of most adjs. as follows:
1. Adjective can be occurred in attributive function , e.g.
A- We've just seen an exciting film .
2. Adjective can freely occur in predicative function , e.g. :
B- That film was exciting .
In example ( Be ) an adjective ( exciting ) occurs in
predicative position after the verb( be )or linked verb as the subject
complement , or an adj. can be considered as an object complement
e.g. : C- He thought the film exciting .
3. The adjective can be premodified by the intensifier ( very ),e.g. :
D- The girls are very happy .
4. Adjective have comparative and superlative forms , e.g.:
Big , bigger ( comparative form ) ; biggest ( superlative form ) .

Azar & Hagen (2006:405) state that the use of nouns
modifiers in English are very clear indeed. Adjectives can be modified or
with nouns as it is-: agreed
Adj. +N: 1. I bought an expensive book.
In this example , we are showing the adjective 'expensive' modifies the noun 'book' as object-complement .
Modifiers can be used to indicate a wide list of relationships between
The two noun "Nouns can be modified by other noun", as follows-:
N+N: 2. I bought a grammar book.
Here, we are putting a word 'grammar' is a noun that is used as an
adjective to modify another noun 'book' .
Sometimes , A-N that is taken as an Adjective from being always in its singular form e.g.:
3. She works at a shoe store.
* : She works at a shoes store. (Incorrect)
The study distinguished, both an adjective and noun can modify
another noun next . For example -: Adj. + N + N ;
4. I bought the expensive grammar book.
*: I bought a grammar expensive book .(Incorrect)
As suggested usually modifiers can give more information or detail
about the person or thing one is talking about rather just giving them
general or special name .
Anything which comes before a noun is called modifier. Anything
(NS) come after a noun is called qualifier. Most adjectives can be used
as modifiers , e.g.:
5. A big school .
Francis ( 1954:320-323) says that a few verbs may have functioned as adjective modifiers . In this condition, the verb may be in the present
participles inflection preceding the adj. or in the infinitive form following the adjective , e.g. :
6. Easy to say .
7. Hard to get .
On this rare occasion, Adjectives should be modified by other adjectives ,e.g.:
8. Icy cold .
Hill (1958:176-177) affirms that premodifiers have the criteria of classes and stress intuitions. He takes the list of prenominal modifiers by
the 'distance' from the head noun, e.g.-:
9. All the four beautiful new wood houses .

Characteristics of Adjectives
Postpositive Adjectives
Postpositive adjectives are coming after noun they
modify , e.g.:
1. The UN general .
With Quirk et al (1984:418) was supposed that " adjectives can often be postpositive . It can come after a noun or pronoun they modify.
The study showed some difference adjectives in some examples-:
2. This novel is useful . ( Predicative )
3. Useful novel is interesting . ( Attributive )
4. The short story is useful . ( Postpositive )

Syntactic Ordering of Adjectives
The order of Predicative adjectives relative to one another is generally the same as the order of A-adjs. relative to one another .
The following examples illustrate the order of Predicative adjective
1. The package is small and light .
2. The weather is clear , cold and dry .
3. The footstool is round and black .
In the first example , the adjective small , indicating size , precedes the adjective light , indicating weight . In the second example , the general descriptive adjective clear precedes the adjective cold , indicating
temperature , which precedes the adjective round , indicating shape , precedes the adjective black , indicating colour .
Krapp ( 1984 : 101 ) says that " adjs. can be divided into three kinds : (1) descriptive adjective , (2) quantitative adjective , (3) proper adjective each adj. has some function as showing on the table :

The order of Predicative adjectives relative to one another is generally the same as the order of A-adjs. relative to one another .
The following examples illustrate the order of Predicative adjective
1. The package is small and light .
2. The weather is clear , cold and dry .
3. The footstool is round and black .
In the first example , the adjective small , indicating size , precedes the adjective light , indicating weight . In the second example , the general descriptive adjective clear precedes the adjective cold , indicating
temperature , which precedes the adjective round , indicating shape , precedes the adjective black , indicating colour .
Krapp ( 1984 : 101 ) says that " adjs. can be divided into three kinds : (1) descriptive adjective , (2) quantitative adjective , (3) proper adjective each adj. has some function as showing on the table :

Adjectives syntactic and semantic Ambiguity
1. I felt her behind for you .
2. He saw her duck .
The study adjectives like ( deep , dry , hard ), which have various tests for ambiguity , one test is having two meanings or underlined antonyms, so with ' hard 'which has both ' soft ' and ' easy ' as opposites .
These examples have conditions of homonymy , so do the noun
' Bear ' and the verb ' bear ' even though not only in sound but there is similarization in spelling also , the preposition ' over ' and
The adjective ' over ' . There is no general consensus on how to draw the line between cases of one ambiguous word and cases of two homonymous words .
In this sentence shows structural ambiguity as it is -:
3. Perot knows a richer man than Trump .
It has two meanings , that (Perot knows a man who is richer than Trump and Perot knows a man who is richer than any man Trump knows) , and these two interpretations are supposed ambiguous.
But , when we are looking for about the sentence which has the same condition for , e.g.:
4. John loves his mother and so does Bill .
There is a structural ambiguity because it can be used to say either that " John loves John's mother and Bill loves Bill's mother or
that John loves John's mother and Bill loves John's mother ".

The Study can summarize semantic ambiguity " is one such way ,
butter are others :"homonymy , vagueness , relativity , indexicality non literality , indirection and explicitness . " All
These features are illustrating something distinct from
multiplicity of linguistic meaning .Terms like ' bald ' , 'heavy ',
and ' old ' are clear examples and their vagueness "explained"
by the fact that they apply to items on fuzzy regions of a scale .
Terms are expressed cluster concepts like ' intelligent', 'athletic',
and ' just ' are vague because their instances are determined by the application of several criteria .
Relativity occurs in a different sort with sentences like, e.g.:
5. Jane is finished .
6. John will be late .

Adjectives semantic Analysis
The methodolgy in this study can be summarized as in the researcher followed a contrastive analytical method of study in dealing with adjectives in two languages ; namely , English and Arabic ; A theoretical background of adjective ordering is given and an eclectic model which is syntactically and semantically based , Reviewing of the literature of adjectives in both languages and Analyzing the data collection from Arabic and English utterances depending on the problem faced the users or translators of both languages because of the modification of this topic.The results of this study show,Adjectives in Arabic are more complicated than in English ; because in Arabic , they traditionally belong to the class of nouns and they are in different types ,From syntactic rules in both languages function as modifiers of the head – noun either directly or indirectly and there is no one-to-onecorrespondence between the modification system in English and Arabic , because adjective in English premodify and postmodify the head . The recommendations of the study are that translator is supposed to have a syntactic and semantic knowledge as abasis for rendering any sequence of adjective and requires other translational abilities; Learners , teachers and students must be well familiarized with basic translational procedured and tehniques .
The factors that come in this play when an act of communion-
tion took place part of the essence of the adjective in question .
Lopez summarizes the characteristics of the type of adjective as
its :
a- Some adjective has express (Action) , consequently their
(Dynamic) and (verb Based).
B- Adjectives imply communicative happening , it can't be normally used reflexive , for example-:
1. I'm sorry for myself *
2. I'm grateful to myself *
3. I'm generous to myself*
There is no proper interaction here .These are also giving
features and receiving presents in the same individual.
In (2) , we can say in correct form:
4. I'm not sorry for you .
(You are emphasized) , I'm sorry for myself!
C- They express (volitive modality), i.e.-:
The emotion of speaker wants to convey . The verbs ( like and want) refer to volitive modality .
e- They express ( Emotional) states and (ways of Behaving),
(towards others). In these adjs. we will find that there is a message or feeling , which would be equated to the addressee
the one emits it .
The verbs ( make, want, and show ) can be considered or
related in their semantic feature structure .
Therefore, Quirk (1984: 124 -125) says that there are three
semantic sub-classification of adjective in English as follows :
A- Stative /Dynamic .
B- Inherent /Non –herent .
c- Gradable /Non- Gradable .

Adjectives: Semantic ordering classification
Plural and Singular in Adjective form
Meaning of adjectives
Adjectives in Arabic
1. The present study reaches to the conclusion that adjectives are more complicated in Arabic than in English , because in Arabic they tradition-
ally belong to the class of nouns and they are of different types .
2. From a syntactic point of view , both in English and Arabic they function as modifiers of the head noun either directly or indirectly .
3. In order to adopt a very comprehensive model which includes all the possible series of adjs. , an elected model which is both syntactic and semantic has been suggested . ( See : 2.6. , 2.7. , 2.8. )
4. There is no one-- to – one correspondence between the modification system in English and Arabic .In English , adjectives premodify the head While in Arabic they premodify and post modify the head ( see the most renderings of the subjects ) .

5. According to position , in English , they are positioned before the noun
While in Arabic , they are positioned after the head noun .
6. The adjectives in English have not number ( singular and plural ) and no gender ( masculine and feminine ) , While The adjective in Arabic had number ( singular , dual and plural ) as a separate forms and gender ( masculine and feminine form ) .
7. There is one – to – one correspondence between adjective ordering in English and Arabic . Adjective ordering in English and Arabic is governed by syntactic constraints and / or semantic constraints , While adjective ordering in Arabic is governed by native speaker's intuition , emphasis shift and language usage . ( See : 2.1. , 2.8. and 2.9.)

8. The thesis studied form , and the researcher concluded , that in English , adjectives have no special form , but some adjectives are characterized by certain suffixes , and some of them are considered to
be irregular past participle forms of verbs .on the other hand in Arabic, they are derived from certain verbs and nouns .
9. Although there is , in principle , no syntactical upper limit to the number of adjectives in premodification . ( See : 2.2.3.)
10. Most adjectives ordering patterns manifest a kind of relation between form and proposition . In other words , the relation between the noun phrase as grammatical l unit and the proposition of the unit and the proposition of the unit is formed by the relations holding between the adjectives , themselves and their head .
11 . To round off the argument , one can say that the problem is procedural rather than structural . The major problem to learn adjectives are how can the learners in English and Arabic to generate in this field .
The second problem , The learners in both languages do not use adjective in correct form in translation , because the adjectives in Arabic are different in English Adjectives into gender , number and case .
12 . In English , the use of articles (definite and indefinite ) are mutual
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