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Теорграмматика / Теоретическая грамматика английского языка.[М. Я. Блох].doc
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§ 7. Let us examine now the combinations of less/least with the basic form of the adjective.

As is well known, the general view of these combinations definitely excludes them from any connection with categorial analytical forms. Strangely enough, this rejectionist view of the "negative degrees of comparison" is even taken to support, not to reject the morphological interpretation of the more/most-combinations.

The corresponding argument in favour of the rejectionist interpretation consists in pointing out the functional parallelism existing between the synthetical degrees of comparison and the more/most-combinations accompanied by their complementary distribution, if not rigorously pronounced (the different choice of the forms by different syllabic-phonetical

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forms of adjectives). The less/least-combinations, according to this view, are absolutely incompatible with the synthetical degrees of comparison, since they express not only different, but opposite meanings [Khaimovich, Rogovskaya, 77-78].

Now, it does not require a profound analysis to see that, from the grammatical point of view, the formula "opposite meaning" amounts to ascertaining the categorial equality of the forms compared. Indeed, if two forms express the opposite meanings, then they can only belong to units of the same general order. And we cannot but agree with B. A. Ilyish's thesis that "there seems to be no sufficient reason for treating the two sets of phrases in different ways, saying that 'more difficult' is an analytical form, while 'less difficult' is not" [Ilyish, 60]. True, the cited author takes this fact rather as demonstration that both types of constructions should equally be excluded from the domain of analytical forms, but the problem of the categorial status of the more/most-combinations has been analysed above.

Thus, the less/least-combinations, similar to the morel most-combinations, constitute specific forms of comparison, which may be called forms of "reverse comparison". The two types of forms cannot be syntagmatically combined in one and the same form of the word, which shows the unity of the category of comparison. The whole category includes not three, but five different forms, making up the two series — respectively, direct and reverse. Of these, the reverse series of comparison (the reverse superiority degrees) is of far lesser importance than the direct one, which evidently can be explained by semantic reasons. As a matter of fact, it is more natural to follow the direct model of comparison based on the principle of addition of qualitative quantities than on the reverse model of comparison based on the principle of subtraction of qualitative quantities, since subtraction in general is a far more abstract process of mental activity than addition. And, probably, exactly for the same reason the reverse comparatives and superlatives are rivalled in speech by the corresponding negative syntactic constructions.

§ 8. Having considered the characteristics of the category of comparison, we can see more clearly the relation to this category of some usually non-comparable evaluative adjectives.

Outside the immediate comparative grammatical change

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of the adjective stand such evaluative adjectives as contain certain comparative sememic elements in their semantic structures. In particular, as we have mentioned above, here belong adjectives that are themselves grading marks of evaluation. Another group of evaluative non-comparables is formed by adjectives of indefinitely moderated quality, or, tentatively, "moderating qualifiers", such as whitish, tepid, half-ironical, semi-detached, etc. But the most peculiar lexemic group of non-comparables is made up by adjectives expressing the highest degree of a respective quality, which words can tentatively be called "adjectives of extreme quality", or "extreme qualifiers", or simply "extremals".

The inherent superlative semantics of extremals is emphasised by the definite article normally introducing their nounal combinations, exactly similar to the definite article used with regular collocations of the superlative degree. Cf.: The ultimate outcome of the talks was encouraging. The final decision has not yet been made public.

On the other hand, due to the tendency of colloquial speech to contrastive variation, such extreme qualifiers can sometimes be modified by intensifying elements. Thus, "the final decision" becomes "a very final decision"; "the ultimate rejection" turns into "rather an ultimate rejection"; "the crucial role" is made into "quite a crucial role", etc. As a result of this kind of modification, the highest grade evaluative force of these words is not strengthened, but, on the contrary, weakened; the outwardly extreme qualifiers become degraded extreme qualifiers, even in this status similar to the regular categorial superlatives degraded in their elative use.

CHAPTER XIX ADVERB

§ 1. The adverb is usually defined as a word expressing either property of an action, or property of another property, or circumstances in which an action occurs. This definition, though certainly informative and instructive, fails to directly point out the relation between the adverb and the adjective as the primary qualifying part of speech.

In an attempt to overcome this drawback, let us define the adverb as a notional word expressing a non-substantive

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property, that is, a property of a non-substantive referent. This formula immediately shows the actual correlation between the adverb and the adjective, since the adjective is a word expressing a substantive property.

Properties may be of a more particular, "organic" order, and a more general and detached, "inorganic" order. Of the organic properties, the adverb denotes those characterising processes and other properties. Of the inorganic properties, the adverb denotes various circumstantial characteristics of processes or whole situations built around processes.

The above definition, approaching the adverb as a word of the secondary qualifying order, presents the entire class of adverbial words as the least self-dependent of all the four notional parts of speech. Indeed, as has been repeatedly pointed out, the truly complete nominative value is inherent only in the noun, which is the name of substances. The verb comes next in its self-dependent nominative force, expressing processes as dynamic relations of substances, i.e. their dynamic relational properties in the broad sense. After that follow qualifying parts of speech —• first the adjective denoting qualifications of substances, and then the adverb denoting qualifications of non-substantive phenomena which find themselves within the range of notional signification.

As we see, the adverb is characterised by its own, specific nominative value, providing for its inalienable status in the system of the parts of speech. Hence, the complaints of some linguists that the adverb is not rigorously defined and in fact presents something like a "dump" for those words which have been rejected by other parts of speech can hardly be taken as fully justified. On the other hand, since the adverb does denote qualifications of the second order, not of the first one like the adjective, it includes a great number of semantically weakened words which are in fact intermediate between notional and functional lexemes by their status and often display features of pronominal nature.

§ 2. In accord with their categorial meaning, adverbs are characterised by a combinability with verbs, adjectives and words of adverbial nature. The functions of adverbs in these combinations consist in expressing different adverbial modifiers. Adverbs can also refer to whole situations; in this function they are considered under the heading of situation-"determinants". Cf.:

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The woman was crying hysterically. (an adverbial modifier of manner, in left-hand contact combination with the verb-predicate) Wilson looked at him appraisingly. (an adverbial modifier of manner, in left-hand distant combination with the verb-predicate) Without undressing she sat down to the poems, nervously anxious to like them... (an adverbial modifier of property qualification, in right-hand combination with a post-positional stative attribute-adjective) You've gotten awfully brave, awfully suddenly. (an adverbial modifier of intensity, in right-hand combination with an adverb-aspective determinant of the situation) Then he stamps his boots again and advances into the room. (two adverbial determinants of the situation: the first — of time, in right-hand combination with the modified predicative construction; the second — of recurrence, in left-hand combination with the modified predicative construction)

Adverbs can also combine with nouns acquiring in such cases a very peculiar adverbial-attributive function, essentially in post-position, but in some cases also in pre-position. E.g.:

The world today presents a picture radically different from what it was before the Second World War. Our vigil overnight was rewarded by good news: the operation seemed to have succeeded. Franklin D. Roosevelt, the then President of the United States, proclaimed the "New Deal" — a new Government economic policy.

The use of adverbs in outwardly attributive positions in such and like examples appears to be in contradiction with the functional destination of the adverb — a word that is intended to qualify a non-nounal syntactic element by definition.

However, this seeming inconsistence of the theoretical interpretation of adverbs with their actual uses can be clarified and resolved in the light of the syntactic principle of nominalisation elaborated within the framework of the theory of paradigmatic syntax (see further). In accord with this principle, each predicative syntactic construction paradigmatically correlates with a noun-phrase displaying basically the same semantic relations between its notional constituents. A predicative construction can be actually changed into a noun-phrase, by which change the dynamic situation expressed by the predicative construction receives a static

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name. Now, adverbs-determinants modifying in constructions of this kind the situation as a whole, are preserved in the corresponding nominalised phrases without a change in their inherent functional status. Cf.:

The world that exists today. → The world today. We kept vigil overnight. Our vigil overnight. Then he was the President. → The then President.

These paradigmatic transformational correlations explain the type of connection between the noun and its adverbial attribute even in cases where direct transformational changes would not be quite consistent with the concrete contextual features of constructions. What is important here, is the fact that the adverb used to modify a noun actually relates to the whole corresponding situation underlying the nounphrase.

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