Slate: Why do we tend to use adjectives in a particular order?

Quite intriguing, I thought - and I was surprised to learn that languages other than English tend to follow the same unwritten rules:

I thought it might be fun to produce a noun phrase with all eight adjective types, in alphabetical order: A, B, C, D, etc. Doubtless someone will be able to improve on my first try:

A beautiful costly decade-old ebony-colored French galfenol heating iron

I read that article a couple of days ago, and thought it was very interesting. It’s amazing how awkward it can sound when you put the adjectives in the “wrong” order.

Yes, it can very irritating. The French speaking Ministry of Education in Quebec imposed the name “English Montreal School Board”, apparently not realizing how awkward it sounds.

Some languages (Spanish and Portuguese, but not italian and Romanian; Hungarian but not Finnish) divide adjectives into permanent conditions and temporary conditions, and a different verb “to be” (ser, estar) is required, depending on which descriptive category is being referenced.

I am lazy = Soy perezoso. I am tired = Estoy cansado.

A similar distinction in a proto language may have contributed the order.

I wouldn’t put it past some of the Francophones in Quebec government to do that on purpose.

I remember reading that Tolkien, in his youth, once wrote about a “green great dragon,” and his mom suggested the two adjectives’ order be switched. When he asked, “Why?” she had no good answer.

Folks studying German sometimes learn the mnemonic TMPO: Time, Manner, Place, Object. Oh, and then a verb.

The CBC refers calls them “the Olympic Winter/Summer Games” when they do their broadcasts. Always drives me nuts!