Adjective Order: African Wild Ass
Posted: 10 February 2018 09:41 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hello, folks.

I sometimes get confused when translating such an English adjective into Arabic in terms of order. Kindly, have a look at the following:

The African wild ass is the granddaddy of the domesticated donkeys of today. It is a desert animal, living primarily in three countries of Africa. It looks like a regular donkey except for its legs, which appear to be wearing black and white striped knee-high socks.

The African wild ass also is called the Abyssinian wild ass, Somali wild ass, Somali wild donkey and African wild donkey.

My question is this:
as far as I know, the origin adjective is always adjacent to the material--the thing being described (ass) if I not mistaken

The wild African ass?

Any idea?

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Posted: 10 February 2018 12:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Anglophile - 10 February 2018 09:41 AM

Hello, folks.


I sometimes get confused when translating such an English adjective into Arabic in terms of order. Kindly, have a look at the following:

The African wild ass is the granddaddy of the domesticated donkeys of today. It is a desert animal, living primarily in three countries of Africa. It looks like a regular donkey except for its legs, which appear to be wearing black and white striped knee-high socks.

The African wild ass also is called the Abyssinian wild ass, Somali wild ass, Somali wild donkey and African wild donkey.

My question is this:
as far as I know, the origin adjective is always adjacent to the material--the thing being described (ass) if I not mistaken

The wild African ass?

Any idea?

If I understand your question you are asking whether African wild should be hyphenated before the noun, ass. The rule is that you do not hyphenate a proper adjective combined with a simple modifier. Furthermore African wild in not an adjective it’s a compound noun; therefore, no hyphen is necessary.

I don’t know if this is the answer you requested.

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Posted: 10 February 2018 02:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The hyphen question doesn’t show up anywhere in the OP.

“Wild Ass” / “Wild Donkey” is the proper noun and name of the Species; and Abyssinian, Somali, Nubian, Tibetan, Mongolian, Turmaninian. Persian and African delineate different species or subspecies of Wild Asses (Equus) So, the Wild (whether it is part of a proper noun or an adjective) goes with Ass and then the adjectives regarding countries (Species) go before “Wild”

A “wild African Ass” would mean something entirely different. It would be an ass or donkey in Africa which is wild as opposed, say, a domesticated African ass.

[ Edited: 10 February 2018 02:23 PM by Oecolampadius ]
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Posted: 10 February 2018 06:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I concur with Oecolampadius. Wild ass is a compound noun that is being modified by the adjective African. Although Equus denotes the genus, which includes horses and zebras, not the species.

Horses are Equus ferus (literally “wild horse,” even the domesticated ones).

African wild asses are Equus africanus (including the Nubian and Somali sub-species and domestic donkeys)
Tibetan wild asses or kiangs are Equus kiang.
Asiatic wild asses are Equus hemionus (including the Mongolian, Turkmenian, Persian, and Indian sub-species)

Grévy’s zebras are Equus grevy.
Plains zebras are Equus quagga.
Mountain zebras are Equus zebra.

And in general, the standard English order of adjectives is what happens in the majority of cases. While it’s a good guide, there are many exceptions. (Native speakers may not even be aware of the “rule” concerning adjective order. We just follow it naturally and without thinking.)

[ Edited: 10 February 2018 06:14 PM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 10 February 2018 08:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Wild ass is a compound noun that is being modified by the adjective African

I thought that African wild was the compound noun, both functioning as adjectives.

[ Edited: 10 February 2018 09:05 PM by Logophile ]
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Posted: 11 February 2018 09:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Logophile - 10 February 2018 08:55 PM

Wild ass is a compound noun that is being modified by the adjective African

I thought that African wild was the compound noun, both functioning as adjectives.

You thought African wild was a compound noun? Can you use that in an illustrative sentence, please?

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Posted: 12 February 2018 04:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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You thought African wild was a compound noun? Can you use that in an illustrative sentence, please?

Actually, I’m confused as to why wild ass is the compound noun referring to African wild ass. African can be used as an adjective or a noun. Therefore, I thought that African wild modifies the noun ass.

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Posted: 13 February 2018 04:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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The noun African only applies to people and (imprecisely) to languages. One does not refer to an animal as “an African.” Wild and African are both adjectives, so they cannot be a compound noun. For that, you need at least one noun.

A compound noun is a noun made up of two or more words, usually nouns or adjectives. In this case, wild ass is the thing in question. It is not simply a feral donkey, but a sub-genus of creatures. Compound nouns often go through a pattern of starting as separate words, then being hyphenated, then closing to form a single word, but not in every case. Wild ass appears to have stopped at the first stage, but it’s still a compound noun.

If it were not a compound noun, one would properly express it as wild, African ass—it needs the comma to separate the adjectives (because they apply to the noun separately) and the order of adjectives would place wild before African.

But the thing is not simply an ass. That word denotes the domesticated donkey. It is a wild ass, and the adjective African distinguishes it from the other species of wild ass.

One should understand the specifics of what is being asked and not make a wild-ass guess (compound adjective meaning something else entirely).

[ Edited: 13 February 2018 04:51 AM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 14 February 2018 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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It’s an autocorrect problem.  It was meant to say “a frickin’ wild ass"…

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Posted: 15 February 2018 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Thanks all for shedding light on this question. I asked because I find it on the internet is sometimes written as African wild ass, and sometimes wild African ass. 
Again, thank you very much.

Here is a link leading to a photo of the adjective order
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/adjective_order.htm

[ Edited: 15 February 2018 11:12 AM by Anglophile ]
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