Shemtov wrote: ↑26 Jul 2021 18:32
Is it possible to have noun-like adjectives that don't decline for case, even though the nouns do?
Theoretically interesting question!
What is a noun-like adjective?
Noun as a comparative concept: say, words that typically express things and words that are morpho-syntactically part of the same category
Noun as a language-internal descriptive category: say, English nouns can typically be preceded be an article and have two numbers.
I think, noun-like adjectives must be noun-like in the sense of descriptive category.
If nouns in that language have case inflection, adjectives can be noun-like in other respects but not in that if they lack it. So, noun-likeness is quantitative rather than qualitative. In the least extreme situation, it's enough that adjectives are not verb-like.
My conlangs often express characteristics as genitives of abstract nouns "man of honour". There could still be something making adjectives noun-like instead of nouns, say, they form comparatives.
Latin, famously, inflects nouns and adjective similarly:
Of course, it is also possible that adjectives have a case paradigm but it does not appear in all contexts.
Hungarian for example does not (usually) inflect adjectives when they modify nouns but inflects them when they are predicates. (Source: http://www.hungarianreference.com/Adjec ... tives.aspx
a boldog fiú 'the happy boy'
a boldog fiúk
'the happy boys
A fiú boldog. 'The boy is happy.'
. 'The boys
Shemtov wrote: ↑26 Jul 2021 19:06
I'm asking if it's possible for the adjectives to mark gender and number and not case, even if nouns decline for all three.
It's funny that no language comes to my mind. But I'm sure there are some. Adjective agreement is such a redundant phenomenon that it can basically choose any category to agree with without increasing/decreasing info.
Hungarian comes close (but its adjectives modifying nouns do sometimes inflect).
There could actually be syntactic reasons for adjectives not to have case inflection. If they never appear as heads and don't agree as modifyers, they don't appear in syntactic positions where cases are needed, if we don't interpret the unmarked nominative in the predicate form a case. Even if, adjectives could sometimes appear as heads and then have a full case paradigm, we can interpret them zero-derived nouns. (Finnish plural adjectives can appear in Nominative or Partitive as predicatives (with subtle semantic differences), so this was not to say adjectives couldn't have case inflection in those syntactic positions.)
Probably, the question was if adjectives as modifiers of nouns can have number/gender agreement but lack case agreement.
No language come to mu mind, but surely it happens in some lang.
If cases are a new innovation, it could be very likely. Estonian has some cases (actually it's questionable if they are syntactically cases and not postpositions because they don't cause agreement, but anyways) that don't cause agreement:
'with a big car'
'with big cars'
(I'm not sure if the examples are corrects (my skills are limited) but they should convey the idea.)