Noun Phrase Premodification by Participles

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University of Banja Luka Banja Luka Faculty of Philology January 2013 English Language and Literature

Seminar paper
Topic: Noun phrase premodification by participles

Student: Mentor: Jelena Galić Dejan Milinović

Table of contents

1. Introduction
2. Participles in premodification
2.1. –ed participle
2.2. –ing participle
2.3. The difference
3. Possible translations into Serbian
4. Conclusion
5. References

1. Introduction

This paper will briefly explain participles on the morphological level and give examples for both of them (-ed and -ing participles). Then it will show how and when they can be used in different semantic and grammatical structures. During the explanation of their use in a sentence, it will also mention the differences between them, by what they are different and also the exceptions when they can be almost synonymous. Of course, the translation of these structures, which are not common in most Slavic languages including Serbian, will also have to be explained. Sometimes it can be a word for word translation, but in most cases an additional effort is needed to translate the given structures. One of the aims of this paper is to introduce the morphosyntax learners to the possibility of using participles in noun phrase premodification. This is a rarely used syntactic possibility by non-native English speakers. Also, one of the aims is to show them how participles can be correctly interpreted and translated into Serbian. And last but not least, we have to learn about noun phrase in general and especially about its constituents because it is the most complex and important phrase in the English language.

2. Participles in premodification

Participles in general are words formed out of verbs and functioning almost exactly like adjectives. There are two types of participles that we are concerned with: the present participle (which ends with –ing and is used to create the present progressive tense and the past progressive tense) and the past participle (which ends with –ed and is used to create passive). Of course, there are irregular verbs (such as go - gone, do – done, etc.) which do not conform to these suffix rules, but the rules of using use are the same.

2.1. –ed participle

The past participle or –ed participle is often used in premodification and postmodification. It can be active and passive, but passive is far more used. For example:
The passenger who has departed ≠ The departed passenger This first sentence cannot be transformed into the second one. Of course, there are exceptions. Some of them are: The vanished treasure
A retired teacher
Increased prices
However, if we insert an adverb, we can make a grammatically acceptable phrase:
The recently-departed passenger
A newly-born baby
The latter example is also an example of statal passive or the passive of state (as opposed to the actional passive) which cannot stand without a modifying adverb unless it denotes a permanent feature of the noun, for example:

A born musician
A married man
We also have participles that cannot be used with every noun. For example, we cannot say:
He was a surprised person
However, the following sentence is perfectly acceptable:
He had a very surprised expression
In the first case, we cannot attribute “shocked” permanently to a person since it is hardly permanent, but with nouns such as “expression” or “look” we certainly can.
An important thing to remember is that not all premodifiers ending with –ed are participles. Some are denominal words, i.e. they originate from nouns and not verbs at all, for example:
A wooded hillside
A flowered yard
But some of these cannot...
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