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Subject: False Participles
Question: Can anyone help me to understand the procedure by which English came to develop illegitimate ''noun-participles'' as adjectives? I have in mind such formulae as the onelegged man, the longwinded sentence, the bearded lady, the wooded hillside and the ragged rhyme. All these modifiers seem to be constructed on the model by which verbs generate participial adjectives (the celebrated actress, the whispered conversation, the reviled prime minister). But they are derived from nouns rather than verbs and don't therefore make logical sense as participles. Are they syntactical impostors or is there some rational justification for them? Thank you for any light you can cast.
Reply: The -ed suffix is one of a number of ways that English forms adjectives from nouns. Others include -ish, -ful, -less, and even -ly (e.g., friendly). A number of word-forming suffixes sound identical to others; for example, -ly forming an adjective from a noun is indistinguishable in sound from -ly forming an adjective from an adverb (e.g., slowly). You may be correct that analogy with with adjectives formed from verb participles was in play, that being one of the ways that language operates; straightforward rules are not always in play.
Reply From: Marilyn N Silva      click here to access email
Date: 15-Aug-2012
Other Replies:
  1. Re: False Participles    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (16-Aug-2012)

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