Chuvash.Org :: Printable Version :: UNIT SEVEN (CV Manual, Grammar)

     The nominal as adjective; comparison of the adjective; possessive adjectives; superlative intensifiers; the morpheme /-lă/.
    The Nominal as Adjective
     There is little formal difference between the various subclasses of nominals: hence, there are no formal characteristics, as endings, which mark the Chuvash adjective, or rather, the nominal used adjectivally. As previously remarked, the same Chuvash word may be identically used as noun, adjective and adverb, for instance:
	shură şămarta			a white egg
	şămarta shurri			egg its white egg = white, albumen

	jyvăş şurt			wooden house	
	chul kĕper			stone bridge

	asha				warm, warmth, warmness
	asha sămah			a warm word, friendly  greeting

	pĕr pysăk tipĕ juman 		a big dry oak-tree
	hamăn syltăm hălha shătakne 	into my right earhole (folktale) 

    Comparison of the Adjective
     In the absence of any feature of form to distinguish the adjectival subclass, a feature or function of adjectives may be mentioned, that of comparison. In Chuvash, as in other languages, it is possible to distinguish three degrees of intensity in an attribute, the positive or normal degree, the comparative degree, greater than the preceding, and the superlative degree, denoting the greatest amount of that quality possible. A few words, by their very nature, do not admit of comparison, e. g., timĕr ‘iron‘ (as in timĕr vitre ‘iron pail‘). Something cannot be more iron or less iron, it can only be iron in nature.
     The positive or normal degree of the adjective has no marker or ending to note it.
	sară chechek		yellow flower
	şülĕ hĕr		a tall girl

     The comparative degree, denoting a greater or lesser amount of degree of the quality or attribute of an object (as compared with another object) is expressed in two ways The first is a syntactic means employing the ablative morpheme:
	juman şăkaran jyvăr		oak frorn linden is heavy = oak is heavier than linden
	kilten pysăk			larger than a house (‘from a house, big‘)
	ylttăn kĕmĕlten haklă		gold is more valuable than silver

    The second means employs the comparative morpheme {.rAh}, which has several allomorphs:
    A. Stems ending in vowels, or in consonants except -r, use the allomorphs –rah/-reh.
	sarărah			yellower, more yellow
	hitrerex		more beautiful, prettier

    B. Stems in -r employ the allomorph -tarah/-tereh.
	jyvărtarah		heavier

    Note also:
	numajtarah		more, greater amount (207, 36)
	nachartarah  		worse

    C. Stems ending in -l and -n have free variation between allomorphs A and B.
	avan			good
	avantarah		better

    Additional instances of comparatives are the following examples.
	pysăkrah			bigger
	pysăkrah kil			a rather large house
	haklă				expensive
	haklăran haklă			more and more expensive

	hytarah				harder, more vigorously
	şultrarah hăjarsene tatrămăr	we picked bigger cucumbers
	lajăhrah			better
	ilemlĕreh			more beautiful
	pĕchĕkreh			smaller

    Not only may nominals and adjectives take the comparative morpheme, this may be found with still other forms.
	kaş				evening
	kaşchen				towards evening (‘up to the evening‘)
	kaşchentereh			more on into the evening,  more towards evening

	pürt				house
	patne				towards (‘to its direction‘)
	pürt patnereh			a bit more towards the house

	kurăk				grass, weeds
	kurăkrah yrash			rye with quite a bit of grass in it (‘grassier rye)

	kunta				here
	kuntarah			closer this way

	kilelle				towards the house
	kilellereh			more towards the house

    Both the above ways of forming the comparative may also be combined, e.g.,
	juman şăkaran jyvărtarah	oak from linden is heavier = oak is heavier than linden

     Adjectival words, when used in the plural, function just like other nominals, e. g.‚ pujansem ‘the rich ones, the rich men.‘
    Superlative Intensifiers
     The superlative degree, or its equivalent~ may be formed by using special words to indicate “very, much, most“ and the like, placed before the word to be intensified. The word most used is chi, and other words of similar function are pit, pitĕ ‘very,‘ ytla ‘more, beyond, further,‘ majsăr ‘immeasurably,‘ săv teri‘quite, as it were, so to say,‘ mala ‘more,‘ etc.
	chi şivĕch		very sharp, sharpest
	chi lajăh		very good, the best
	mala ilemlĕ		more beautiful
	ytla avan		more good, better, very  good
	pitĕ lajăh		very good, best

     Reduplication in whole or in part also plays a considerable role in forming a superlative in Chuvash. This type of formation, well-known in other Turkic and Altaic languages, is of several sorts.
    A. The entire stem may be reduplicated, as
	sară-sară		very yellow, exceptionally yellow
	shură-shură		most white, white as white can be

    B. The adjective may be preceded by an intensifying partly reduplicated prefix, in the form CVC-, where the first consonant is that of the word involved, the vowel usually the one of that word (but sometimes another one, but in vowel harmony with it), and the second consonant is -p, but sometimes -m or even other consonants. Hence,
	hup-hura		jet-black
	jem-jeshĕl		green as green can be
	jĕp-jĕpe		soaking wet
	shap-shura		snow-white (note prefix!)
	hĕp-hĕrle		red as all get-out
	tak-takăr		absolutely flat
	tăp-tulli		chockful, brimful

    C. In a few cases, the reduplicated syllable is not based on that word being intensified, but on some other stem, e. g.,
	vĕr-şĕnĕ		brand-new
	sĕm-tĕttĕm		pitch-dark

    Possessive Adjectives
     Since the Chuvash adjective is essentially a substantive, it may express possession, although by its nature only possession of and by things, hence, it occurs only with the 3rd p. suffix, -i. Very frequently, this -i is added to the locative morpheme {.RA}, yielding the following allomorphs:
    A. After /l n r/, -ti
	jalti			what is in the village, local
	kilti			domestic, what is in the home
	vărmanti		pertaining to the forest, in the woods
	kunti			(from kunta ‘here‘) local
	hirti			on the field

    B. After other consonants except /l n r/, -ri
	anat			lower, Lower Chuvashia
	anatra			in the lower part1 in Lower Chuvashia
	anatri			one who is in or from Lower 	 Chuvashia (name of one of
		 		the two major Chuvash dialects)
	puşri kalpak		the hat on the head
	şirĕmri şyn		a man in his twenties
	uramri			on the street
	sămahri sasăsem		the sounds which are in words
	alfavitri saspallisem	the letters in the alphabet
	Gor‘kiri avtozavod	the automobile factory in Gorky

    C The allomorph -~i is bund after the prothetic -n- of the possessive locative
	pürt patĕnchi.		the one in the vicinity or direction of the house

    A very similar morpheme ja /-hi/ meaning approximately “the one which is in.‘ It may be added after any consonant.
	şul			year
	şulhi			yearly, what is in a year, annual
	şurhi			vernal spring what is in the springtime
	irhi			morning, pertaining to the morning
	kaşhi			evening, in the evening (as adjective)
	ülemhi			future, what is in the future
	lajăhhi			the one who is good 
	vărşă			war
	vărşăchchen		before the war, up to the time of the war
	vărşăchchenhi		pre -war
	unchchenhi		the former (Ger. damalige), ‘the one tip to it‘
	hal‘			now, at present
	hal‘hi			contemporary, the ones at present

    The Morpherne /.lă/
     The function of adjectives may also be performed by the extremely common suffix –lă/-lĕ. It is very similar to the English suffix -like as in childlike birdlike etc it has the essential meaning of “having possessing, having the nature off and its allomorphs are -lă/-lĕ after consonants and -llă/-illĕ alter vowels. It may be affixed to any nominal stem. Note there are two similar morphemes, one -la/-le with full grade vowel (to be discussed below), and another morpheme. -la-/-le -‚ which occurs only with verb stems.
	chap		fame
	chaplă		famous, having fame
	jat		name
	jatlă		named (so-and-so), having the name - - -
	ut		horse
	utlă		having a horse
	ilem		beauty
	ilemlĕ		beautiful
	vărmală		wooded, having woods
	tullă		mountainous, hilly
	shămă		bone
	shămăllă	bony
	ash		meat, flesh
	ashlă		meaty, fleshy
	harpăr		each
	harpărlă	own, individual, unique

    There are many, many other formations with this morpheme. It may also be used with borrowed words.
	aktivlă		active, having activity
	talantlă	talented, having talents
	intereslĕ	interesting, of interest

    Note the difference between simple juxtaposition and the use of –lă.
	chul pĕve	a stone dam, a dam made out of stones (not wood)
	chullă pĕve	a rocky dam, a dam with loose rocks lying about
	tăvar külli	a salt-lake, lake salty by nature
	tăvarlă shyv	salted water, salty water (but not salt water), 
			water to which salt was mistakenly added

    Note also these examples:
	tăvat ura		four legs (that is, not three or five)
	tăvat urallă		a four-legged one, quadruped, four -footed
	ike vitre		two pails, two buckets
	ikĕ vitrellĕ sămavar	a two-pot samovar
	jită puşĕ		a dog-head (not a moose head)
	jită puşlĕ upăte	the dog-faced baboon

    The morpheme -săr/-sĕr is the antonym to -lă/-lĕ.
     In addition to the morpheme -lă/-lĕ, there is a very similar morpheme -la/-le with full vocalism. Its meaning essentially duplicates the former, and is used chiefly with stems denoting nationalities but also with some other stems especially borrowed words. No instances of contrast have been found, nor of free variation.
	chăvashla kĕneke		a Chuvash book
	chăvashla-vyrasla slovar‘ 	A Chuvash-Russian Dictionari
	tutarla				Tatar
	bol‘shevikla			Bolshevik, Bolshevistic
	stahanovla juhăm		the Stakhanovite movement
	fashistla zahvatchiksem		the fascist usurpers

	kapitalistla tata		the capitalistic and land
	pomeşikla pusmăr		owner‘s yoke

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