Grammatical categories by position: the case of adverbs and modulators placed before a determinant

Let us try to delve more deeply into the case of adverbs, trying to define them by their position in relation to other grammatical categories. The adverbs are divided into several different categories. Now let’s look at the adverbs that may be placed before a determinant:

  • au moins, presque, quasiment, environ, plus de, moins de, approximativement, etc.
  • alminu, guasgi, guasgi, circa, più di, menu di, apprussimativamenti, etc.
  • at least, almost, nearly, about, more than, less than, approximately, etc.

Here are some examples: “au moins cinq chevaux dormaient” (at least five horses were spleeping, alminu cinqui cavaddi durmiani); “pendant presque un an” (for almost a year, mentri guasgi un annu); “presque aucun soldat ne manquait” (almost no soldier was missing ; guasgi nisciunu suldatu ùn mancava).

Let’s call these categories modulators (of determinants). The fact of being placed before the determinant is related to the fact that the modulator modifies the meaning of the determinant. The relevant determinants are:

  • cardinal determinants: deux, trois, quatre, cinq, … (two, three, four, five…; dui, trè, quattru, cinqui,…)
  • indefinite article determinants
  • indefinite determinants: aucun, aucune, quelques (none, none, a few ; nisciunu, nisciuna, calchì)

Hence, if we reason in terms of two-sided grammar, a determinant preceded by a modulator remains a determinant: MODD-D = D.

To sum up. So far we have distinguished several categories among the classical class of adverbs:

  • modulators of adjectives
  • modulators preceding verbs
  • modulators following verbs
  • modulators preceding cardinal determinants
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