adjectives that predicate just part of the body

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by HYCHIN, Jun 17, 2013.

  1. HYCHIN Member

    In Cantonese, some adjectives are in the subject-verb form, like 肚餓 (literally stomach-hungry)
    To say I'm hungry, I'm thirsty, I'm sleepy and I'm dizzy in Cantonese, we can say "My stomach hungry I stomach hungry", "My mouth thirsty I mouth thirsty", "My eyes sleepy I eyes sleepy" and "My head dizzy I head dizzy". (No verb-to-be in Cantonese)
    That is, the part of body, but not the whole person, is predicated by those adjectives.

    This type is not the majority of adjectives. For example I'm afraid is "I afraid" rather than "My head/heart afraid". I'm tall is "I tall" but not "My body/back/head tall".

    Does your language predicate part of the body rather than the whole person?

    EDIT: Please see Ghabi's post below.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2013
  2. Rallino Moderatoúrkos

    Turkish has some similar phrases.

    Karnım aç - My stomach is hungry.
    Boyum uzun - My height is long.
    Kafam iyi - My head is good (I'm drunk)

    And an example phrase that doesn't use an adjective, but similar in construction:
    Canım istiyor - My soul wants it (I want it).

    And a totally random one:
    Gözüm/Götüm yemiyor - My eye/ass doesn't eat it (I dare not do it.)
  3. Ёж! Senior Member

    Russian: sometimes, very seldom, mostly when a verb is used instead of an adjective, for example: «голова кружится» (lit. '[my/your/anybody's] head is whirling'). Another example is the proverb: «Видит око, да зуб неймёт» ('the eye is able to see it, but the tooth can't grab it'), which is not the normal way to say such things. «Мои глаза слепы» ('My eyes are blind') is possible, but makes think of American Indians or of Ancient Greeks.
    «Моей душе угодно» ('[it feels] welcome to my soul'), although this is not the usual way to put it in Russian. Note the Dative – the predicative adjective applies to the circumstances that are welcome, not to the soul.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2013
  4. Ghabi

    Ghabi AL/OL/Ar/Zh mod

    Hong Kong
    Hello! These translations seem to me a bit misleading, with 我 rendered as "my". Such a phrase as 我肚餓 is uttered as 我|肚餓 (an adverb like 好鬼 can be inserted after 我), not *我肚|餓 (actually, as you know, to say "my stomach" one has to say 我個肚, not *我肚).
  5. HYCHIN Member

    Thank you for your reminder.
    I actually deliberately used "my" because other people may find it strange to see two subjects. I am sorry that I did not consider the possibility to be misleading if I put the literal translation in this way.

    So, according 我|肚餓 "I | stomach hungry", the whole person is predicated syntactically, but the part of body is predicated morphologically (within the compound).

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