Elative (gradation)

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In Semitic linguistics, the elative is a stage of gradation in Arabic that can be used both for a superlative and comparative. The Arabic elative has a special inflection similar to that of colour adjectives, though differing in certain details. To form an elative, the consonants of the adjective's root are placed in the context aCCaC in the masculine singular, CuCCā in the feminine singular, and most commonly CuCaC in the plural. So the adjective kabīr كبير "large, great" is changed to akbar أكبر (as in takbir) in the masculine singular elative, and to kubrā كبرى in the feminine singular elative. For the plural, **kubar would be expected, but separate masculine plural akābir أكابر and feminine plural kubrayāt كبريات are found as irregular forms. In modern Arabic, the feminine and plural forms of the elative are rarely used, except when the elative word is prefixed with the definite article.[1]


  1. ^ Patrick; Comparative semitic linguistics: a manual; 1998