Japanese Adjectives: Describing a Person

やさしい (yasashii) - nice
おもしろい (omoshiroii) - interesting
可愛い (kawaii) - cute
丁寧 (teinei) - polite
明るい (akarui) - cheerful
おかしい (okashii) - funny/unusual
頑固な (gankona) - stubborn
綺麗な (kireina) - beautiful
勤勉な (kinbenna) - hardworking
正直な (shoujikina) - honest
親切な (shinsetsuna) - helpful/kind
ぶさいくな (busakiuna) - awkward/clumsy

Three things that I like about this tweet, linguistically: 

1. It syntactically integrates the emoji into the sentence into what is, indeed, an adjectival position. This is (currently) a rarer way of using emoji – we more commonly put them at the end of an utterance to indicate how we feel about what comes before, or as an entire utterance to respond to what a previous person said – but if emoji do get linguistically integrated in a systematic fashion, this is what it could look like. 

2. The emoji that it uses is already a symbolic (linguistic) representation, since it consists of numbers, albeit in a specific format that has a different meaning from just “100″. If an emoji contains a word, is it language, a picture, or both?

3. Despite the fact that it’s talking about using emoji instead of words, it uses 24 words and only 2 emojis to do so. Emoji aren’t a simple replacement of words for pictures but rather the development of a more complicated system that integrates the two. You could call it 💯.

the alphabet post
  • adaptable:gemini, aries, cancer, pisces, sagittarius
  • bashful:aries, cancer, libra, aquarius, pisces
  • careful:sagittarius, taurus, virgo, capricorn, scorpio
  • dangerous:aries, gemini, sagittarius, pisces, leo
  • elegant:taurus, cancer, virgo, aquarius
  • faithful:virgo, cancer, capricorn, pisces, aries
  • gentle:aries, cancer, virgo, libra, pisces, scorpio
  • honest:virgo, pisces, scoprio, libra, sagittarius
  • intelligent:gemini, virgo, scorpio, sagittarius
  • juvenile:aries, leo, cancer, sagittarius, aquarius
  • kindhearted:aries, taurus, cancer, pisces, virgo, libra
  • lonely:gemini, taurus, virgo, pisces, aquarius
  • maternal:cancer, pisces, virgo, libra, scorpio, aries
  • noticeable:aries, gemini, leo, sagittarius, scorpio
  • obsessive:gemini, taurus, cancer, scorpio, libra
  • popular:leo, gemini, cancer, virgo, pisces, aries
  • quarrelsome:gemini, sagittarius, pisces, virgo, scorpio
  • realistic:leo, pisces, libra, scorpio, virgo
  • sensitive:gemini, aries, cancer, taurus, scorpio
  • thoughtful:leo, cancer, capricorn, aquarius, taurus
  • unguarded:aries, cancer, leo, libra, scorpio, capricorn
  • vibrant:aries, gemini, leo, virgo, pisces, sagittarius
  • watchful:gemini, cancer, pisces, virgo, taurus, aquarius
  • xylophone:literally only gemini you are a xylophone
  • youthful:gemini, aries, cancer, leo, capricorn, pisces
  • zany:aries, leo, taurus, cancer, aquarius, scorpio

Adventurous: Aries, Gemini, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Aquarius, Pisces
Benign: Taurus, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Pisces
Calculating: Taurus, Gemini, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Aquarius
Determined: Aries, Taurus, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn
Energetic: Aries, Gemini, Leo, Sagittarius, Capricorn
Fervent: Aries, Cancer, Leo, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Aquarius, Pisces
Genial: Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, Pisces
Headstrong: Aries, Taurus, Cancer, Leo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Aquarius
Inquisitive: Gemini, Virgo, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Aquarius, Pisces
Joking: Aries, Gemini, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Pisces
Keen: Aries, Leo, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Aquarius
Logical: Taurus, Gemini, Virgo, Libra, Capricorn, Aquarius
Mannerly: Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Capricorn, Pisces
Nonchalant: Taurus, Virgo, Libra, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius
Observant: Gemini, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Aquarius, Pisces
Passive: Gemini, Cancer, Virgo, Libra, Sagittarius, Pisces
Quick-witted: Aries, Gemini, Virgo, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Aquarius, Pisces
Resilient: Aries, Taurus, Cancer, Scorpio, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces
Secretive: Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces
Trustworthy: Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces
Unconventional: Aries, Gemini, Sagittarius, Aquarius
Vain: Taurus, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Capricorn, Aquarius
Worrisome: Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Scorpio, Capricorn, Pisces
Xenodochial: Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius, Aquarius, Pisces
Yielding: Taurus, Cancer, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Capricorn, Pisces
Zealous: Aries, Gemini, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius

형용사 (Adjectives)

In honor of my 100th post, I decided to make a list of the 100 most useful/common Korean adjectives to know!

  1. 힘들다 – hard/challenging
  2. 어렵다 – difficult
  3. 쉽다 – easy
  4. 많다 – many
  5. 적다 – few
  6. 작다 – small
  7. 크다 – big
  8. 짧다 – short
  9. 길다 – long
  10. 예쁘다 – pretty
  11. 아름답다 – beautiful
  12. 잘생기다 – handsome
  13. 못생기다 – ugly
  14. 귀엽다 – cute
  15. 나쁘다 – bad
  16. 싫다 – bad/unlikeable
  17. 좋다 – good/likeable
  18. 바쁘다 – busy
  19. 맛있다 – delicious
  20. 맛없다 – gross
  21. 쓰다 – bitter
  22. 달콤하다 – sweet
  23. 짜다 – salty
  24. 시큼하다 – sour
  25. 맵다 – spicy
  26. 기름지다 – greasy/fatty
  27. 빠르다 – fast
  28. 느리다 – slow
  29. 천천하다 – slow/steadily
  30. 재미있다 – fun/interesting
  31. 재미없다 – not fun/uninteresting
  32. 가볍다 – light
  33. 무겁다 – heavy
  34. 무섭다 – scary
  35. 부럽다 – jealous
  36. 급하다 – urgent
  37. 편하다 – comfortable
  38. 불편하다 – uncomfortable
  39. 편리하다 – convenient
  40. 놀라다 – surprising
  41. 멍청하다 – stupid
  42. 똑똑하다 – smart
  43. 뚱뚱하다 – fat
  44. 통통하다 – chubby
  45. 날씬하다 – thin
  46. 마르다 – scrawny/too thin
  47. 슬프다 – sad
  48. 행복하다 – happy
  49. 기쁘다 – happy
  50. 반갑하다 – happy/pleased
  51. 즐겁다 – pleasant/enjoyable
  52. 졸리다 – sleepy
  53. 피곤하다 – tired
  54. 축축하다 – wet (bad)
  55. 촉촉하다 – wet (good)
  56. 넓다 – wide/spacious
  57. 좁다 – thin/narrow
  58. 뜨겁다 – warm (objects)
  59. 덥다 – hot
  60. 따뜻하다 – warm
  61. 시원하다 – cool/refreshing
  62. 춥다 – cold
  63. 차갑다 – cold (objects)
  64. 싸늘하다 – chilly/frosty
  65. 쌀쌀하다 – chilly
  66. 유명하다 – famous
  67. 위험하다 – dangerous
  68. 안전하다 – safe
  69. 더럽다 – dirty
  70. 깨끗하다 – clean
  71. 시끄럽다 – noisy
  72. 조용하다 – quiet
  73. 착하다 – pleasant/kind
  74. 다양하다 – various
  75. 간단하다 – simple
  76. 우울하다 – depressed
  77. 아쉽다 – disappointing
  78. 아깝다 – a waste
  79. 새롭다 – new
  80. 오래되다 – old
  81. 어리다 – young
  82. 화려하다 – splendid
  83. 멋지다 – splendid/awesome
  84. 늦다 – late
  85. 심심하다 – boring
  86. 비슷하다 – similar
  87. 같다 – same
  88. 다르다 – different
  89. 가능하다 – possible
  90. 불가능하다 – impossible
  91. 열심하다 – diligent
  92. 유치하다 – childish
  93. 빨갛다 – red
  94. 노랗다 – yellow
  95. 파랗다 – blue/green
  96. 하얗다 – white
  97. 까맣다 – black
  98. 동그랗다 – round
  99. 복잡하다 – crowded
  100. 중요하다 – important
Why Do We Say “Big Red Barn,” but “Red Big Barn” Sounds Wrong?

An interesting article on adjective ordering

It is a lovely warm August day outside, and I am wearing a green loose top. Does the second part of that sentence sound strange to you? Perhaps you think I should have written “loose green top.” You’re not wrong (though not entirely right, because descriptivist linguistics): An intuitive code governs the way English speakers order adjectives. The rules come so naturally to us that we rarely learn about them in school, but over the past few decades language nerds have been monitoring modifiers, grouping them into categories, and straining to find logic in how people instinctively rank those categories. […]

Linguists have broken the adjectival landmass into several regions. They are: general opinion or quality (“exquisite,” “terrible”), specific opinion or quality (“friendly,” “dusty”), size, shape, age, color, origin, and material. Generally, modifiers from the same region can be strung together in any order. Thomas Wolfe, writing in Look Homeward, Angelof “blistered varnished wood” and “fat limp underdone bacon,” could also have said “varnished blistered wood” or “limp fat underdone bacon.” (All five examples count as “specific opinion” words.) […]

These tricky situations—neither pure correlation nor accumulation—generally occur when you cross the border between adjectival regions, such as size and color. When that happens, an invisible code snaps into place, and the eight categories shimmy into one magistral conga line: general opinion then specific opinion then size then shape then age then color then provenance then material.

(Read the rest.)

Also related is this Tom Scott video on adjective ordering. The generalization that adjectives seem to be ordered the same way across a wide variety of languages is the type of data used as evidence for a cartographic approach to linguistics: detailed typological surveys of how aspects of language do or do not vary in very specific ways. 

Word List: Voice Adjectives

This one comes from a request, so here’s some ways to describe the sound of a character’s voice:

  • booming
  • breathy
  • brittle
  • croaky
  • dead
  • flat
  • grating
  • gravelly
  • gruff
  • guttural
  • hoarse
  • honeyed
  • husky
  • monotonous
  • nasal
  • plummy
  • quavering
  • ringing
  • rough
  • shrill
  • silky
  • silvery
  • singsong
  • smoky
  • smooth
  • squeaky
  • staccato
  • strangled
  • strident
  • taut
  • thick
  • thin
  • throaty
  • tight
  • toneless
  • tremulous
  • wheezy
  • wobbly

Grumpy writing advice of the day: commit to your descriptors, folks. Does that “rather”, “quite”, “somewhat”, “nearly” or “almost” really need to be there? Or does it just serve to avoid making a definite statement? If it’s the second one, lose it; if you’re not prepared to employ an adjective with conviction, it probably doesn’t need to be there at all.

Vocabulaire français - des adjectifs

déprimé (adj) - depressed

fourbu (adj) - exhausted, tired out

irréprochable (adj) - irreproachable, flawless

fieffé (adj) - utter, arrant

inestimable (adj) - inestimable, incalculable, priceless

entretenu (adj) - kept, maintained

avisé (adj) - wise, shrewd, astute

belliqueux (adj) - agressive, warlike, belligerent, bellicose

exigu (adj) - cramped, confined

malveillant (adj) - malevolent, malicious

chétif (adj) - puny, sickly, meagre