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Complex noun phrases

Complex noun phrases

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Complex noun phrases

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  1. Complex noun phrases Chapter 9 LongmanStudent Grammar ofSpokenandWrittenEnglish Biber; Conrad; Leech (2009, p. 263-306)

  2. Knock knock Jokes • Knock, knock • Who’s there? • Arthur. • Arthur who? • Arthur-mometer is good for measuring the temperature • Knock, knock • Who’s there? • Philip. • Philip who? • Philip the tank, I’ve got a long way to go. CONVERSATION HAS MANY NOUN PHRASES, BUT THEY ARE USUALLY VERY SHORT AND HAVE CONCRETE REFERENTS.

  3. Introduction • Thebasicnounphrasecanbeexpressedwithnounmodifiers. Premodifiers, likeattributiveadjectives, occurbeforetheheadnoun. Postmodifiers, likerelativeclauses, occurfollowingtheheadnoun. • Allnounphrases include a head, whiledeterminers, premodifiers, andpostmodifiers are optional. • He’slooking for asmall woodenboxthatheowned. • Nounphrasescanhave a pronouninsteadof a noun as thehead.Pronoun-headedphrasesusually do not include a determinerorpremodifiers, buttheymayhavepostmodifiers(lookat exception below) . • I’dratherstayatthebig onein town. • There are differentlevelsofembeddingwithinnounphrases. • [Thelatestproblemfor thegovernment] is [increasingcompetitionfor mobilecellular radio services, whichhave a small bunchoffrequenciesaround 900 MHz.]

  4. Types of noun modification • There are differenttypesofpremodifiers(adjective: specialproject; participial: writtenreason; noun: busstrike). • There are alsodifferenttypesofpostmodifiers(Clausalpost-modifiers: finite – relativeclauses; non-finite – to-clauses, ing-clauses, ed-clauses) • NOUN COMPLEMENT CLAUSES ARE DIFFERENT FROM POSTMODIFIERS IN STRUCTURE AND MEANING, ALTHOUGH THEY ALSO OCCUR FOLLOWING NOUN HEADS. theideathathewas... • Adjectives are themostcommonpremodifiertype. • Nouns are alsocommon as premodifiers in thewrittenregisters. • Prepositionalphrases are byfarthemostcommontypeofpostmodifier. • Relativeclauses are alsocommon. • Premodifiersandpostmodifiers are distributed in thesamewayacrossregisters: rare in conversation, verycommon in informationalwriting. • Differenttypesofnounphraseheads(e.g. commonnoun, personalpronoun: rarelyoccurwithmodifiers, demonstrativepronouns: takeonlypostmodifiers) are associatedwithdifferenttypesofmodifiers.

  5. Premodifiers: condensed postmodifiers • Premodifiers are condensed structures. They use fewer words than postmodifiers to convey roughly the same information. Most adjectival and participial premodifiers can be re-phrased as a longer, postmodifying relative clause. THE EXTREMELY PRODUCTIVE USE OF NOUN + NOUN SEQUENCES IN NEWSPAPER LANGUAGE RESULTS IN A VERY DENSE PRESENTATION OF INFORMATION!

  6. Premodification • There are four major typesofnounpremodifier: general adjective, ed-participialmodifier, ing-participialmodifier, andnoun. • Nouns as premodifiers are especiallyrich in meaningbecausetheyexpress a widearrayoflogicalrelationships(composition: metal seat, purpose: pencil case, identity: member country, content: algebratext...). • A fewnouns, likecar, school, government, andTV, are especiallyproductive as premodifiers. • Plural nounscanalsooccur as premodifiers, as in savingsaccount. Thispattern is more common in BritishEnglish. • Whennounphraseshavemultiplepremodifiers, theytend to occur in a predictableorderdependingontheirgrammaticalcategory: e.g. adverb + adjective + head(a really hot day); adjective + noun+ head(blackleatherjacket); descriptor + classifier + head(clearblueeyes). • Coordinatedpremodifiers(e.g. male andfemaleworkers, racial orreligiouscohesion) are foundprimarily in academic prose. • Coordinatedpremodifiers are surprisinglycomplexbecausetheirmeaning is notexplicit.

  7. Relative clauses • Relativeclauses, andotherpostmodifiers, are classifiedintotwomaintypesbytheirfunction: restrictive, helping to identifythereferenceoftheheadnoun(He hit theballonthecarthatwasgoingpast), andnon-restrictive, addingdescriptivedetailsabouttheheadnoun (He lookedintoher mailbox, whichsheneverlocked). • In general, restrictiverelativeclauses are more commonthannon-restrictive. • Mostotherpostmodifiertypes are restrictive, butcanoccasionallybenon-restrictive (... pictureofVictorianurbansociety, concentratingonthecapitalist...). • Relativeclauseshavethreekeycomponents: theheadnoun, therelativizer, andthegap(locationofthemissingconstituent in therelativeclause). • There are eightdifferentrelativizers in English. Themostcommonones are which, whoandthat. Pronouns: whom, whose. Adverbs: where, when, why. • In some cases, therelativizercanbeomittedaltogether, although its meaning is still implied. This is referred to as the zero relativizer. • Some relativizers(such as whichandthat) are similar in theirpotential uses, butthere are differences in theiractualpatternsof use. • Thegaprefers to thelocationof a missingconstituent in therelativeclause. Thegapcanoccuratalmostanynounphraseposition(e.g. subject, directobject, adverbial) • Relativeclauseswith adverbial gapsinvolvespecialchoices for therelativizer.

  8. Relative pronoun choices • Thechoiceamongrelativepronouns is influencedby a numberofotherfactors, includinggapposition, andrestrictive v. non-restrictivefunction. In general,thatis usuallyusedonlywithrestrictiverelativeclauses, whilewhich is usedwithbothrestrictiveandnon-restrictiveclauses. • Who v. whichwithhuman OR non-humanheadnouns • Thatand zero withhuman AND non-humanheadnouns • Whom(non-subjectgap) v. who v. thatwithhumanheadnouns • THERE MIGHT BE PEOPLE THAT WE DON’T KNOW OF. • Whose v. ofwhich(alternative to whosewithinanimateheadnouns) • Zero relativizer: e.g. thewaythemanused to watchhim

  9. Relative clauses with adverbial gaps • Whenrelativeclauseshave adverbial gaps, speakers andwritershave four choices for the use ofrelativizers. • Relativeadverbs: where, when, why • The time when I began • Preposition + relativepronounwhich • The time atwhich I began • Strandedpreposition • The time that I beganat • Omittedpreposition • The time that I began OR The time I began • Manner adverbial gapsandway • There is no relativeadverbavailable for relativeclauseswithmanner adverbial gaps(*thewayhow I lookat it). Instead, thesestructuresalmostalways use thesameheadnoun: way. They’renotused to thewaywelive.

  10. Other postmodifier typesnon-finite clauses, prepositional phrases, appositives • Postmodifierscanbeclausesorphrases. • In addition to relativeclauses, threetypesofnon-finiteclausescanbenounpostmodifiers: ing-clauses, ed-clauses(SUBJECT GAP), orto-clauses. • Theverbs in ed-clausescorrespond to passive verbs in relativeclauses. • Theverbs in ing-clausessometimescorrespond to progressiveverbs in relativeclauses(travelling), butoften do not(involving). • Postmodifyingto-clauses are more flexiblethanparticipialclauses; for example, theycanhavesubjectsthatdifferfromthemainclausesubject. • Prepositionalphrases are systems withchaoticbehavior • Theycanexpressanextremelywide range ofmeanings. ofphrases, for instance • Noun-phrasescanalsobepostmodifiers, calledappositivenounphrases. • Appositivenounphrases are non-restrictive; they are especiallycommon in thewrittenregisters.formersecretaryofstate Jim Baker • When a nounphrasehastwopostmodifiers, they are usuallyboththesamestructuraltype(e.g. both are prepositionalphrases) • One exception is thatrelativeclausescommonlyoccurfollowingotherstructuraltypesofpostmodifier.carin thedriveway, whichhadbeen set onfire

  11. Noun complement clauses • Nouncomplementclausescaneasilybeconfusedwithrelativeclauses.reportthat its leadingindicatorfell in September • Theydiffer in thatthey are structurally complete (i.e. nouncomplementclauses do nothave a gap) andthecomplementizerthatcannotbeomitted. • There are twotypesofnouncomplementclause: finitethat-clausesandnon-finiteto-clauses (permissionto wearthem). • Ing-clausesintentionofsingingandwh-clausesquestionwhythedevilcanbeused as nouncomplementsclauses, but are lesscommon. • Themostcommonfunctionofnouncomplementclauses is restrictive. However, theycanbeused in non-restrictivefunctions (parenthetical). • Nouncomplementclausesoccurwithonly a few abstract nouns. • Eachstructuraltypeofcomplementclauseoccurswith a different set ofheadnouns. theideaofputting a lamp • Theheadnounsthattakethat-clauses(e.g. fact, possibility, claim) markstance. • Theheadnounsthattaketo-clauses(e.g. chance, attempt, plan) markhumangoalsoractions.

  12. Tongue Twisters • Hungry hippos hate horribly hot hamburgers. • Big bad baboons blow up beautiful blue baloons. • Vain vultures in vivid velvet vests. • My mean monster munches marmalade muffins. • Five friendly frogs feast on fat figs. • Rude rats run round ruffled rabbits.