Czech: Are all gradable adverbs derived from adjectival stems?


Czech language, Czech Republic
Hello Everyone!

I shortened the question for the sake of brevity, but in order to avoid ambiguity, I will try to clarify:

My question pertains to morphological gradation, that is, deriving comparative and superlative forms by means of affixes such as -eji/-ěji and nej-, not analytically, by means of periphrastic constructions with víc(e) and nejvíc(e) (corresponding roughly to English more and most, respectively).

It appears to me that (leaving all irregularities such as the suppletive málo ~ méně ~ nejméně "little ~ less ~ least" aside) all of the adverbs that do have comparative and superlative forms are derived from adjectival stems:
  • krása "beauty" → krásný "beautiful" → krásně "beautifully" → krásněji / nejkrásněji
  • oko "eye" → okatý "conspicuous" → okatě "conspicuously" → okatěji / nejokatěji
  • leda by "unless" + "would (be)" → ledabylý "careless" → ledabyle "carelessly"→ ledabyleji / nejledabyleji
  • řídký "sparse" → řídce "sparsely" → řidčeji / nejřidčeji
  • z řídka "out of sparsity" → zřídka "sparsely" → zřídkavý "sparse" → zřídkavě "sparsely" → zřídkavěji / nejzřídkavěji
The latter two examples are quite telling, I believe. While řídce "rarely, sparsely" is derived from řídký "rare, sparse", it poses no problem for the derivation of comparative and superlative forms. On the other hand, zřídka (also "rarely, sparsely") is of phrasal origin, so an adjectival formant needs to be applied first in order for the comparative and superlative affixes to be applicable to it.

I would very much like to know whether I am right, or whether I am missing anything.

I will be grateful for any insights and comments!


  • Are all gradable adverbs derived from adjectival stems?
    I think yes .... It seems that the affixes -eji/-ěji suppose an adjective to be applicable.

    By the way, I've found a quasi "exception": raději. Nowadays rád is not perceived as an adjective, however in the past it probably was. See for example the so called "short forms" of the adjective "hodný": hoden, hodna, hodno. By analogy, we can imagine rád, rada, rado in function of adjectives in the past, from which raději derives. If true, then it confirms your intuition, even if adjectives like *radý, *radá, *radé do not exist.
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