Shemspreg adjectives

From FrathWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

The primary function of adjectives is to modify nouns in noun phrases. In Shemspreg, adjectives modify nouns, act as predicates, and can even function as heads of noun phrases. In this chapter I discuss the inflection of adjectives and derivational processes involving adjectives.

Adjective inflection

Adjectives carry inflection for comparative and superlative degrees. The comparative is formed by adding the suffix -ios to consonant-final adjective stems.

khwer 'warm'

khwerios 'warmer'

If the adjective stem ends in a vowel, the i of the comparative suffix is realized as the glide y.

alvo 'white'

alvoyos 'whiter'

The pivot construction in Shemspreg is illustrated below. In this construction, the comparative adjective precedes the standard of comparison, which is expressed as a prepositional phrase using ad 'to'.

ulkwo es mejios ad kwonom.

ulkwo es mej -ios ad kwon -om
wolf be:PRES big -COMP to dog -OBL

'(A) wolf is bigger than (a) dog.'

The superlative degree is formed by adding the suffix -isto to consonant-final stems, or by adding -sto to vowel-final stems.

khwer 'warm'

khweristo 'warmest'

alvo 'white'

alvosto 'whitest'

Nouns which are modified by an adjective in the superlative degree are inflected for plural number and genitive case; an adjective in the superlative degree thus behaves syntactically like a noun.

domesos khweristo

dom -es -os khwer -isto
house -PL -GEN warm -SUP

'(the) warmest house' (lit: 'the warmest of houses')

Deriving adjectives


The suffix -wo has already been encountered in nominal derivational morphology. When attached to a noun stem X, it yields an adjective with the approximate meaning 'having X, characterized by X'.

sal 'salt' > salwo 'salty'

gwi 'life' > gwiwo 'alive, having life'

wiis 'power' > wiiswo 'powerful'


The prefix in- has already been seen in verbal morphology. When attached to an adjective, it creates the antonym of the adjective. It is often found with participles.

mirto 'mortal' (from mir- 'to die') > inmirto 'immortal'

chechukent 'clean' (from cheuk- 'to clean') > inchechukent 'unclean'

Adjectival marker

The suffix -u serves to derive adjectives from nouns and verbs. It differs from the participial ending -(e)nt in that -u creates adjectives whose derivations are not always semantically transparent. Also, many adjectives ending in -u are not based on recognizable verbal stems.

anj- 'strangle, pinch off' > anju 'narrow'

wes- 'be, exist, become' > wesu 'good'

legh- 'lay' > leghu 'light'

medh 'honey' > medhu 'sweet'

diw 'day' > diwu 'daily'

oochu 'swift'

nogu 'naked'

gweru 'heavy'

Deriving adverbs

Adverbs can be derived from adjectives by adding the suffix -(e)ne.

reej 'efficient' > reejene 'efficiently'

avro 'violent' > avrone 'violently'

oochu 'swift' > oochune 'swiftly'


  1. Introduction to Shemspreg
  2. Shemspreg sounds
  3. Shemspreg nouns
  4. Shemspreg pronouns and other particles
  5. Shemspreg verbs
  6. Shemspreg adjectives
  7. Shemspreg sentences