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Semantic classification of adjectives
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Adjectives can be classified into four groups on the basis of their meaning .

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Adjectives can be semantically classified in the following four groups, which all share the property that they can occur in the attributive construction. The attributive construction can therefore be viewed as the canonical construction for adjectives.

  1. Set-denoting adjectives assign an objective descriptive property to the argument with which they are construed. In die lang jaagtogthe long chase, the property of being long is claimed to hold of the chase.
  2. Relational adjectives do not express a property so much as a kind of classifying relation between two entities. In die Kaapse meisiesthe Capetonian girls, a relation is established between girls and the city of Cape Town. The phrase can be paraphrased as "girls from Cape Town". Geographical adjectives are almost always relational. Other examples include 'n mediese handboeka medical handbook en ons daaglikse broodour daily bread.
  3. Subjectively evaluating adjectives express a negative judgment with an emotional connotation, as in daardie vervlakste skobbejakthat damned scoundrel. Adjectival curses characteristically belong here.
  4. Residual adjectives form a rest category. Intensifiers belong here, as in absolute onsinabsolute nonsense, and quantifying adjectives like 'n potensiële teenvoorbeelda potential counterexample.
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