Tabouli the animate salad (tabouli) wrote in linguaphiles,
Tabouli the animate salad

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Mark my footsteps, good my page

I'm curious about the way modifiers are ordered in English. For example, you'd usually say "big blue monster", not "blue big monster". According to this website, English speakers order their modifiers in the following order:

Opinion, size, age, shape, colour, origin, material.

As in "uncouth little 19th century lumpy black Shetland stuffed pony", though putting that many modifiers in a row wouldn't be considered very good English. I'd use a maximum of three or four modifiers for a noun in English: more than that feels awkward and clunky.

On modifiers, I thought I'd post here about something I've heard quite often in English from the 19th century or earlier, namely placing a possessive pronoun in between an adjective and a noun. For example, in the original, 19th century version of Good King Wenceslaus, he says "Mark my footsteps, good my page"; later versions change it to the modern order "my good page".

What's happening there? Was it once the norm to do this?

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