Grammatical categories by position: the case of adverbs and adjective modulators

If we look at the case of adverbs and try to define them by their position in relation to other grammatical categories, it follows that we need to split the adverbs into several different categories. To begin with, some adverbs are placed before an adjective:

  • peu, très, extrêmement, surtout, étonnamment, à peine, vraiment, assez, bien, trop, tellement, etc.
  • pocu, assai, estremamente, sopratuttu, in modu stunante, appena, propriu/propria/proprii/proprie, abbastanza, bellu/bella/belli/belle, troppu/troppa/troppi, troppe, tantu/tanta, tanti/tante, etc.
  • not very, very, extremely, especially, surprisingly, hardly, really, enough, all/very, too, so, etc.

Let’s call these categories modulators (of adjectives). The fact of being placed before the adjective is linked to the fact that the modulator modifies the meaning of the adjective. Moreover, if we reason in terms of two-sided grammar, a modulator followed by an adjective remains an adjective: MODAQ-AQ = AQ.

The fact that we are dealing here with adjective modulators is well illustrated by the fact that the equivalents in the Corsican language accord with the corresponding adjectives: “ils sont bien contents” = sò belli cuntenti = they are well satisfied; “elle est tellement contente” = hè tanta cuntente = she’s so happy.