Adjectives in sodemadu can modify nouns and verbs. They do not inflect. They express dimension and size, age, value, color, and physical properties such as speed, shape, temperature, and texture. They can also express time and distance and manner of movement. Adjectives in the dictionary are tagged as "base" for basic adjectives, "aug" for augmented adjectives, "dim" for diminished adjectives, and "redup" for reduplicated adjectives. The most common are basic adjectives.
Adjectives follow the nouns they modify. Adjectives that act like adverbs in modifying the verb or the whole clause appear at the end of the sentence before the mood marker (if realized).
Basic adjectives can take the full range of adjective modifiers (except no). These include go "as, same as", dan "sort of, kind of", pe "less, little", piye "too little, least, not enough", alam "too, too much", na "more, very", iyɛ "getting more so", and iyɛ iyɛ "getting even more so, more and more". The last two are often used with the iterative forms of the verbs evi and ɛmɛmɛ. With the latter verb, they actually mean "getting less so" and "getting even less so, less and less".
Gada daɬo taba.
The water is deep.
Gada daɬo taba go.
The water is as deep (as over there).
The next five modifiers form a scale, from least to most: piye - pe - dan - na - alam:
Gada daɬo taba piye.
The water is not deep enough.
Gada daɬo taba pe.
The water is a little deep.
Gada daɬo taba dan.
The water is sort of deep.
Gada daɬo taba na.
The water is very deep.
Gada daɬo taba alam.
The water is too deep.
iyɛ and iyɛ iyɛ are used to mean "more so" and "more and more so". So, for a verb like ɛmɛmɛ, which denotes implosion and dimunition, "less so" and "less and less so" are more accurate translations.
Gada ŋevena taba iyɛ.
The water is getting deeper.
Gada ŋɛmmena taba iyɛ iyɛ.
The water is getting less and less deep.
Augmented adjectives are adjectives meaning "more" or "very" of a quality. There are two patterns to augmentative adjectives. The first involves reduplication of the first syllable of the adjective, as in taba becoming tataba. The second involves adding the suffix -(e)ya, as in tanda becoming tandeya. Neither pattern is productive, though the second was productive more recently, and some speakers will still apply the process to newer adjectives.
The following adjectives are of the first, partially reduplicated type:
Note that taba na "very deep" from the previous section and tataba "very deep" are equivalent.
Augmented adjectives can take the following modifiers: dan "sort of, kind of", no "more, very", and iyɛ "more and more".
Gada daɬo tataba dan.
The water is sort of very deep.
Gada daɬo tataba no.
The water is very very deep.
Gada ŋevena tandeya iyɛ.
The water is getting faster and faster.
There are some augmented adjectives that do not have a corresponding basic form. Among these are mɨdeya "careful, cautious", nadeya "important", and podeya "ugly, disgusting".
Diminished adjectives mean "not very" of a quality and often come to have idiosyncratic meanings or to mean the opposite of the quality. There are only a small number of diminished adjectives. They were formed by adding the suffix -(i)si to the basic adjective, often accompanied by a change in the base vowel. This process is no longer productive, and some of the forms have lost their connection to the basic adjective.
There are fifteen diminished adjectives, thirteen are from the same base forms as the thirteen partially-reduplicated augmented adjectives above, plus two more.
Diminished adjectives can take only the following modifiers: dan "sort of, kind of", and no "more, very".
Gada daɬo tɛpsi dan.
The water is sort of shallow.
Gada daɬo tɛpsi no.
The water is very shallow.
Reduplicated adjectives involve the full reduplication of a base. They tend to convey a continuous state over time, and generally act more like adverbs. They can be modified by no "more, very" only. Some are derived from nouns, and some from other adjectives. Some exist only in a reduplicated form. Here are some reduplicated adjectives:
Augmented and diminished adjectives are derived from base adjectives. However, these processes are no longer productive.
Adjectives can be turned into nouns by preceding the adjective with a noun classifier.
Adjectives can be derived from some nouns by adding the suffix -ili "full of, filled with".