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  • Attributes as Modifiers in Ivo Andrić's Short Story "The Bridge on the Žepa"
  • Lidija Nerandžić-Čanda and Dragana Francišković
    Translated by Andrijana Pavlović

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Figure 1.

Photograph of the Bridge on the Žepa. Source:

This paper explores the types of attributes, as well as their distribution and stylistic value in Ivo Andrić's short story "The Bridge on the Žepa." The philosophical aesthetic aspect of the this short story, which is reflected in the idea that art invites contemplation, and that a work of art has a life of its own, is explicitly conveyed by the presence or absence of attributes in this short story. The subject of this paper is lexical modifiers and modifiers that modify the meaning of the accompanying nouns in Andrić's short story "The Bridge on the Žepa," one of the highlights of his Nobel Prize-winning career (figure 1). The grammatical attributes in the story, i.e., modifiers, are examined in terms [End Page 71] of their morphological and syntactic aspects. The goal of this analysis is to present the function, type, and distribution of the attributes which are realized within phrases in which a noun serves as the head of the syntactic phrase.1 Of course, there has been extensive scholarly literature devoted to modifiers and the process of modification, which may be accomplished in various different ways on the phrasal and syntactic levels, even though those concepts have not always been referred to with these precise terms. This paper is intended to make a contribution to the field of descriptive grammar.

A thorough analysis and classification of the modifiers of deverbal nouns in the corpus of the contemporary Serbian language permits their precise classifications into specific categories and subcategories, but at the same time, it has the potential to extend our understanding of nouns from a cross-linguistic perspective. Additionally, it is significant in terms of the further development of grammatical theory: the syntactic and semantic classification of noun modifiers in the corpus of the contemporary Serbian language. Živojin Bošnjaković's definition of "modifier" is taken as a starting point for the present study: "Modifier is a generalized term used for a lexical unit which closely specifies, intensifies, or adds to the meaning of another lexical item—it a word, it modifies it."2 The section on syntax in Stanojčić's Grammar of Serbian states: "Modifiers are words of attribute character which function as an adjective relating to nouns, or of adverbial character when they function as an adverb relating to verbs or whole clauses."3 Each of these modifiers functions an attribute since they represent dependent constituents of noun phrases. A modifier signals a quality, attribute, quantity, or number of the meaning of a deverbal noun. "An attribute is a general term used for noun phrase constituents. However, the simplest definition of an attribute would be that it presents a complement to a noun which closely specifies the noun to which it relates. It specifies a quality, possession, quantity, or number of the noun to which it is addressed. Most often it is an adjective, an adjectival pronoun, or a number, but it can also be a noun, preposition or even an entire phrase."4 When it comes to attributes, Stanojčić asserts in the Grammar of Serbian that "An attribute is a word or a set of words which specify the qualities of the noun they relate [End Page 72] to, and which have not been previously specified. Depending on the part of speech of the word which functions as an attribute of the noun, there are two types of attributes: the congruent attribute and the non-congruent attribute (prepositional attribute)."5 Congruent attributes are words belonging to parts of speech which agree with (bear matching gender, number, and case to) the nouns to which they relate, while closely specifying some of the internal or external qualities of the meanings of those nouns, or some of the relations; such words are: adjectives, adjectival phrases, adjectival pronouns, and numbers. Sub-types of these attributes are: 1) possessive attributes that define belonging, e.g., his game; and 2...


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