powerpoint file - Cardiff University

Report
On Nouns and
nominalisations
Lise Fontaine
Cardiff University
How Does
Language Work?
Aston University
June 2013
Objectives and outline
Aim: to explain the main function and structure
of nouns and to understand how we can
recognise each one.
Outline:
• Recognising words – how useful is this?
• The structure (or form) of nouns
• The function of nouns
• The noun phrase and how to recognise it
Resources
• Teaching Grammar, maintained by Geoff Dean and
Dick Hudson
– http://teach-grammar.com
• Functional Grammar for Teachers, maintained
by Alan Hess
– http://manxman.ch/moodle2/course/view.php?id=4
• Functional Grammar, maintained (2007) by Lyle
Walker
– http://www.mourass.eq.edu.au/functional_grammar.htm
Identifying nouns, verbs etc. is only a small part
of the picture. Only asking for a label for an item
doesn’t build understanding.
It’s open to interpretation
Find … x …
Find a noun
http://www.crickweb.co.uk/ks2literacy.html
Find a pronoun
Find an adjective
Find an article
Find a preposition
Find a phrase
Why is x there?
What else could be? What does it mean?
What is its context?
a
c
b
a2
a
c
b
x
c
x
b
c2
c
b2
c
a
b
a2 + b 2 = c 2
a
a
b
Some preliminary ideas
• Every ‘word’ used is doing a job
• Every word in a sentence is related to at
least one other word in the sentence
Phrase
– i.e. no dangling items; they depend on each
other and they work together
• Some kinds of words tend to cling
together more than others
• There is a difference between ‘word’
and ‘phrase’ and we need to understand
the relationship they have
Every ‘phrase’ used is doing a job
Word
The problems with a uniquely ‘find the noun’
approach:
• NOUN is just a category
– Categories are useful but not perfect
• It doesn’t explain why the noun is in the
sentence
• It doesn’t help us understand how it relates to
other words
• It doesn’t capture the fact that nouns can do
different kinds of jobs (different functions)
Let’s start with a word…
FRIEND
Can I friend
you on
Facebook?
People can't friend request me on facebook? Like if they go to
my profile there is no button that says "add as friend".
If I turned on followers does it turn off friending capabilities?
It's easy to drop your guard while socializing with your friends on
Facebook, but careless friending, posting, liking, and sharing
jeopardizes more than just your reputation and privacy -- it can also
cost you your job.
But if…
Noun = person place or thing
• Car, apple, flower, flour,
dog, pencil, city, man,
woman, …
• John, Tom, Sue, Jane, …
• Time, evil, spirit, health, …
• Earthquake, avalanche,
circus, sneeze, yawn, …
• Destruction, rise,
production
Verb = action word
• Kick, eat, pick, draw, write,
sit, run, drive, …
• Think, understand, like,
love, learn, see, …
• Have, be, …
• Spill the beans, kick the
bucket, let the cat out of the
bag, …
• The very unattainableness of it.
• There is also an ethicisation of the poor.
• You were the great attentionist in the business.
Killing [an example]
(1) The cat is killing that poor moth.
(2) Killing moths is illegal.
(3) The killing of moths is illegal.
I’m suggesting we need to develop a level of
‘dexterity’ when it comes to words and
grammar.
Packing in meaning: event nouns
(or ‘Grammatical Metaphor’)
process to participant
• Event nouns: e.g. eruption, downfall
– encode or carry additional meaning (event information)
– Either ‘natural’ or derived
• My dog died. Her death was upsetting for our family
• Napoleon felt betrayed by some members of his
family. Their betrayal was very hurtful.
o The density of the air can change and this makes the
air pressure change.
? A change in air density causes air pressure change
A more ‘political’ example:
Shooting accident involving Dick Cheney (02/2006).
Was alcohol involved?
To the best of my
knowledge
there
was
There
was no
consumption
no alcohol involved
I am unaware
the hunting
party had had
any alcohol.
of alcohol in the field
No alcohol
was
consumed in
the field
Form vs function
• Have you ever used a rock as a hammer?
• Have you ever used a hammer as a bottle
opener?
• Have you ever used a teatowel as a trivet?
• Have you ever used a colander as a fruit bowl?
Word categories – they are helpful!
• Some words are more about meaning
– Content words (sometimes called lexical words)
• Nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs
• Some words are more about relations
– Function words (sometimes called grammatical
words)
• Articles, conjunctions, auxiliary verbs, pronouns
• Prepositions?
“Categorization is not a matter to be taken lightly.
There is nothing more basic than categorization to our
thought, perception, action, and speech. Every time we see
something as a kind of thing. For example, a tree, we are
categorizing. Whenever we reason about kinds of things chairs, nations, illnesses, emotions, any kind of thing at all
- we are employing categories.”
Lakoff, G. (1987) Women, Fire and Dangerous Things. University of Chicago Press p5-6
The category NOUN
• The category for words that are used to denote (mean)
conceptual things
– i.e. the labels we give to the things we want to say
something about (or anything that could be referred
to by it/he/she/they)
• They are needed when we want to refer to something
– They can be specific or not (the dog)
– They can be singular or plural (five dogs)
– They can be described (cute dogs)
– They can be expanded (dogs that bark)
The category NOUN
• They can be sub-categorised:
– ‘discrete’ status: [a division we invented]
• Concrete (what we can see and touch)
e.g. dog, house, chair, book, child, …
• Abstract (concepts, ideas, feelings etc.)
e.g. love, hate, love, illness, …
– ‘countability’ status: [an important grammatical distinction]
• Count nouns
– A dog is barking but *dog is barking
• Mass nouns
– Blood is red but *A blood is red
the
thenew
cat near
sorting
themethod
bed . [participating entities]
I will adopt __________________
The noun…
• Categorises the thing/concept you are talking
about
• It ‘anchors’ the expression used to refer to
whatever it is you are talking about
• It is (almost) always part of a noun phrase
• Nouns are just labels for things, they don’t do
anything on their own.
But what are the main functions of nouns?
• To categorise the conceptual thing we want to
refer to (the referent)
e.g. My friend vs my colleague vs my sister
• To sub-categorise the referent (e.g. a kind of …)
e.g. police station, garden hose, steam train
• To further specify the referent
e.g. my friend, John
• To establish a meaningful construction
e.g. a cup of coffee, a bunch of flowers
Structural units
“Describing a sentence as a construction of
words is rather like describing a house as a
construction of bricks, without recognizing
the walls and the rooms as intermediate
structural units”.
– Halliday (1994:180)
ENRAGED COW INJURES FARMER WITH
adjective
noun
verb
noun
enraged
cow
injures
enraged
cow
injures
AX
preposition
noun
farmer
with
axe
farmer
with
axe
The NOUN phrase [or nominal group]
Tools and resources are needed to manipulate
language so that it reveals its nature to us (dexterity)
• The enraged cow injured the farmer with the axe.
• The enraged cow injured him with the axe.
• The farmer with the axe was injured by the cow.
PRONOUNS do not replace NOUNS, they replace the
PHRASE
The noun phrase (nominal group) is the main
grammatical resource for introducing and
maintaining participants in language
The ELEMENTS of the Nominal Group
Ngp → (d)* (m)* th (q)*
(determiner), (modifier), thing, (qualifier)
Ngp
d
m
th
q
the
black
cat
by the bed
Pronoun Replacement
Test:
Ngp
the black cat by the bed is cute
it is cute
th
it
Determiners:
•
•
•
•
Modifiers
Articles
• Adjectives/Adjective
phrases
Numerals
• Nouns
Possessives
• Tend to express a property
Tend to express which?
or a quality
Whose? or how many/much?
Thing:
Qualifiers
•
•
•
•
• Phrases (prepositional
phrases, clauses, nominal
groups and adjective
phrases)
• Tend to expand the
expression by description
Noun
One
Pronouns
Categorizes the referent
– Location, Relation, etc.
The ELEMENTS of the Nominal Group
Ngp
d
m
th
the
black
cat
a
steel
frame
five
the
q
by the bed
apples
one
her
determination
John’s
reluctance
that I bought yesterday
to stay
d: determiner
m: modifier
th: thing
q: qualifier
Some practice with student texts
• Find the noun phrases/nominal groups
– How did you know where it started and ended?
– What category of thing do you find?
– What other elements (if any) do you find?
– Why are they there?
– What is the role of the expression (e.g. is it the
Subject of the sentence?)
– What other expressions would work well here?
And what ones would not work at all? (within
reason!)
• For example, could event nouns be used to pack in
more information?

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