I'm writing a paper at the minute for a course I'm studying on comparative linguistics.
The paper is about gradeable and ungradeable adjectives.
In brief,in English we have extreme adjectives which (normally) are not graded using 'intensifiers' (like 'very') or down toners (like 'slightly'). For example:
- furious is an extreme adjective (extreme of angry). So we would not normally say 'I'm very furious' or 'I'm slightly furious' [although we might do for effect.
More on this here - http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/ ... n-gradable
-- - - -- - -
What I'm looking for are features of differences in other languages that will make ungradeable adjectives difficult to learn for native speakers of that language.
For example, are there any false cognates that would cause a problem for learners in other languages,i.e. a words that sound the same as extreme adjectives like ''exhausted", "freezing", "boiling" etc that, in that language, can be modified with the same intensifiers which are used for non-extreme adjectives?
Or, are there any languages which simply don't have systems of gradeable or ungradeable adjectives at all (excluding East Asian languages, of which I already have several examples of).
Any questions here, please ask me.
One more note - given the importance of accuracy in the paper, it's really important that examples are 100% accurate. Therefore, I really need input from native speakers or very advanced learners here if possible. It doesn't have to be incredibly detailed: I will have to research it thoroughly later anyway, but just looking for hints of where to start looking.
An example from a rudimentary draft I've already formulated, just to help show what I'm after:
...in Vietnamese extreme adjectives forms are normally either formed by adding a modifier to a standard adjective (Đẹp quá – very beautiful) or by using two milder adjectives together (mệt lử - exhausted). Therefore Vietnamese learners often either over modify standard adjectives, or use several similar meaning mild adjectives instead of using one strong form (e.g. “she looks very very beautiful” or “she looks lovely and beautiful”).