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a Seminar Paper on Adjectives and Vagueness

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This paper discussed adjectives and vagueness. It also discussed what an adjective is, types of adjectives, functions of adjectives, the order of applying multiple adjectives when they occur in clusters to describe a nominal head. It discussed
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  University of Port Harcourt College of graduate studiesFaculty of Humanities English studies DepartmentAdjectives and Vagueness By Upa!i" Benedict #rji A seminar onAdjectives and vagueness presented in partial fulfilment for there$uirement of the course% &emantics 'E&( )*+,+-.ecturer% Dr Umera/#ee" 0,Decem!er +*12 1  Abstract (his paper discussed adjectives and vagueness, 3t also discussed 4hat an adjective is" types of adjectives" functions of adjectives" the order of applying multiple adjectives 4hen they occur inclusters to descri!e a nominal head, 3t discussed vagueness" theories of vagueness" !orderline casesof vagueness and sho4ed the difference !et4een vagueness and imprecision and ho4 they apply ine5pressions, Keywords % Adjectives" vagueness" am!iguity" grammar" semantics,+  Introduction (he classical or traditional grammarians introduced the term" 6Parts of speech7 as a 4ay of classifying and specifying various functions 4hich le5ical items could perform in utterances,Eli8a!eth Pryse" '19)2- descri!ed parts of speech as tri!es of 4ords, Under this tri!al delineation of 4ords 4e have nouns" pronouns" ver!s" adver!s" adjectives" prepositions" conjunctions andinterjections,(he classical grammar made a 4ater/tight compartmentali8ation of 4ord tri!es" 4hich didnot allo4 the unveiling of the fle5i!ility of 4ords and their functions depending on the syntacticenvironment in 4hich they occur, Ho4ever" this shortcoming of the traditional grammar 4asremedied !y later forms of grammar model" especially the systemic functional grammar 4hereconte5t: le5ical environment hold !etter stae in determining the semantic features of 4ords,#oh" 199;" adopted a !ipartite 4ord categori8ation model !y descri!ing or grouping 4ords under open and closed 4ord classes, (herefore 4e use the term" 6<ord classes7 instead of the primordialterm" 6Parts of speech7, (he groups under open 4ord class include the nouns" adjectives" ver!s and adver!s,According to #oh" these 4ord groups are al4ays open to admit ne4 4ords 'neologisms-, <ords inthe open 4ord class are le5ical 4ords 4hich have le5ical meaning, #n the other hand" closed 4ordclass houses 4ord groups such as pronouns" determiners" prepositions" au5iliary:modals andconjunctions, (hese are functional 4ords that perform grammatical functions in e5pressions,Adjectives are in the open 4ord class, (he focus of this paper is to discuss adjectives andvagueness,=  The meaning of Adjectives According to Eli8a!eth Pryse '19)2" p, >- 6Adjectives are 4ords 4hich descri!e a noun or pronoun"and help us to have a clearer picture of the person or thing they descri!e or $ualify7, #oh '199;- descri!ed adjectives as modifiers of a noun or pronoun in an e5pression,  0dimele '199>- descri!ed adjectives as that 4hich limits or specifies the references of nominals, 3n #g!ulogo '+**2" p, 22-" adjectives are defined as 64ords 4hich modify nouns, (hey comenearer to the nouns they modify than all other elements that modify such nouns,7From the foregoing" 4e can simply say that adjectives generally descri!e" modify or $ualifya noun or pronoun in an e5pression, According to #g!ulogo" adjectives can !e divided into threemain groups" namely?  general adjectives (   good, bad, ugly, beautiful, intelligent, etc  ) " descriptiveadjectives (hot, cold, warm, big, round, circular, new, young, old, red, green, etc)  and derived adjectives (  adjectives derived through affi5ation process e,g, satan ic, atom ic,  fear   ful,  play  ful,  fruit   ful,  generat  ive, educat  ive,  submiss ive, comfort  able, miser  able, educ able etc and denominaladjectives, <ithout adjectives" reading" 4riting and speaing 4ould !e very monotonous, Adjectives add flavour or spice to linguistic e5pressions, Types of adjectives (here are different types of adjectives%1, Adjectives of quality % this group of adjectives descri!es the $uality of the nominal or  pronominal, E5ample% high" !ig" small" lovely" dar" hard" soft" etc,+, Demonstrative adjectives % these adjectives points out the 4ords or entity they descri!e,E5ample% this" these" that" those=, Possessive adjectives % these adjectives give us information a!out 4ho o4ns 4hat, E5ample%his" hers" theirs" mine" yours" etc, a. (he pen is  yours. 2  b. (he !oo is  mine 2, Interrogative adjectives % (hese adjectives as a $uestion 4hile they still descri!e a noun,E5ample% 'a- Which  !us goes to Enugu@ '!- What   purpose does this serve@;, Numeric adjectives % one" three" five" t4o" four" si5" etc, >, Distributive adjectives % these adjectives denote an indefinite num!er attached to a noun,E5ample% each, many some, few, a few, little, a little, every, either, neither  , .ets pay attention tosome of these distri!utive adjectives lie% fe4" a fe4" little" a little, Few  / a few % these are used for plural count nouns, Few: is used 4hen an item is hardly or scarcely enough and more 4ould !e needed,E5ample% a,(he !oos in my collection are  few ? 3 4ould need more to tae me through the session, !,(he lecture did not hold !ecause there 4ere  few  students in the class a few % suggests a condition of !eing nearly enough, E5ample% 3 !ought a few  !oos and 3 4ould not need more for this session,  Little / a little % are used to modify mass or non/count nouns, <hile little  suggests a condition of  !eing hardly enough" a little  sho4s a condition of !eing almost or nearly enough, Properties and functions of adjectives   3t is not the morphological shape of a 4ord that maes it an adjective !ut the role or function it performs in an utterance, 0dimele '199>" p,1=+/=;-" descri!ed features of adjectives as follo4s% !"yntactic features % Adjectives specify or limit the reference or attri!utes of nominals or noun phrases, (hey occur ne5t to the nominal they modify in the order !elo4%'Det- 'Deg-  0 Adj,;
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