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1279. Descriptive Compounds

In this division of the class of determinatives, the prior member stands to the other in no distinct case-relation, but qualifies it adjectively or adverbially, according as it (the final member) is noun or adjective.

a. Examples are: nīlotpala blue lotussarvaguṇa all good qualitypriyasakha dear friendmaharṣí great-sagerajatapātrá silver cup; ájñata unknownsúkṛta well done,duṣkṛ́t ill-doingpuruṣṭutá much praisedpúnarṇava renewed.

b. The prior member is not always an adjective before a noun, or an adverb before an adjective; other parts of speech are sometimes used adjectively and adverbially in that position.

c. The boundary between descriptive and dependent compounds is not an absolute one; in certain cases it is open to question, for instance, whether a prior noun, or adjective with noun-value, is used more in a case-relation, or adverbially.

d. Moreover, where the final member is a derivative having both noun and adjective value, it is not seldom doubtful whether an adjective compound is to be regarded as descriptive, made with final adjective, or possessive, made with final noun. Sometimes the accent of the word determines its character in this respect, but not always.

e. A satisfactorily simple and perspicuous classification of the descriptive compounds is not practicable; we cannot hold apart throughout the compounds of noun and of adjective value, but may better group both together, as they appear with prefixed elements of various kinds.