Categorial Status of Yoruba Attributive Modifiers
This paper re-examines claims in the literature that Yoruba attributive words such as dúdú black’, pupa ‘red’, funfun ‘white’, etc., which function as modifiers of N, are adjectives. It provides data and analytic evidence to show that the items have the morphology and syntax of nominals. The fact that the items in question have the syntactic distribution and morphology of nouns; semantically refer to attributive features such as colour, size, quantity, etc. of concrete nouns; and sometimes function as verbs with the same phonetic forms informs the conclusion that they are not canonic adjectives but derived nouns converted to verbs and possibly adjectives, respectively, via a N→V/A conversion process. It equally argues that forms like burúkú ‘bad’ and wé ̣é ̣ré ̣
‘small (-bits)’are morpho-syntactically fused compounds consisting of verb + degree adverb.