The Post-Modification in Nominal Groups

Topics: Noun phrase, Grammar, Relative clause Pages: 9 (2863 words) Published: December 5, 2012
The Post-Modification in Nominal Groups
Fransiska Dewi H., S.S., M.Hum

Syntax mostly deals with the external structures of the words. It has to do with discussing the structures which is at the level above word, in group level. Thus, this paper discusses only on the structure of modification which shows the relationship between the head word and its modifier(s) and the group of words under discussion consists of the phrase and clause of noun called nominal group. Since the position of modification after the head is often misunderstood as complementation, the discussion focuses more on the post-modification in the nominal groups in order to resolve the ambiguity. Based on the discussion, the head noun can be post-modified by the relative clause, the prepositional phrases, the adjectival phrases, the adverbial phrases, and the appositives.

Key terms: syntax, post-modification, nominal group.

A. Introduction
In a clause structure, nominal groups can function as a subject, an object or a complement. The nominal groups also realize the principal participants in the situation described by the clause, as an Agent, an Affected, and a Recipient in material processes, and the corresponding participants in mental and relational processes. To a lesser extent, the nominal group occurs as adjunct and also as complement of a preposition (Downing and Locke, 2006). The nominal group has four primary elements: the head, which is the central element, the determiner and the pre-modifier in the position before the head, and the post-modifier in the position after the head. The head is generally realized by a noun or pronoun, for example book and they. The determiner can be realized by the articles (a, an, the), the demonstrative (this, that, these, those), the wh-words (which, whatever), the distributives (each, all, every), the quantifiers (first, many), or the possessives (‘s). The pre-modifier describes or classifies the referent. Thus, it can be in the form of the epithet, which characterizes the referent by attributing qualities to it and is realized by adjectives (new book, young girl) and classifier, which restrict the referent to a sub-class and is realized by nouns (art lover, top ten) or certain types of adjectives and participles (general election, leading article). The post-modifier includes all the items that are placed after the head and, like pre-modifier, helps to define and identify the noun referent further. However, post-modifier is different from the complement, which is also placed after the head. The complement typically realized by content clauses, for example the fact that he left. In this paper, the post-modification of the nominal group will be discussed further and thoroughly. The discussion will include the further functions of the post-modification in nominal group, the realization of the post-modifier, and the problem that may arise in the post-modification, in this case, the ambiguity.

B. Discussion
The discussion talks about a brief definition of nominal groups, the function of post-modification in the nominal groups, the realization of the post-modifier and the ambiguity in nominal group post-modification. The nominal groups under discussion cover the forms of noun modification. It includes the noun phrase and the noun clause. By disregarding the determiner and pre-modifier, which are placed before the head noun, the post-modifier has often been used to adjust the nouns. Downing and Locked (2006) conclude two basic communicative functions of the post-modifier elements in nominal group: to provide information that helps the hearer/reader to specify and identify the person or thing referred to by the nominal group and to add supplementary information about the referent when it has already been identified. The first function can be encoded as a restrictive or defining unit, while the second is a non-restrictive or non-defining unit.

(1) This is the house where the...
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