Article published in:Functional Perspectives on Grammar and Discourse: In honour of Angela Downing
Edited by Christopher S. Butler, Raquel Hidalgo Downing and Julia Lavid-López
[Studies in Language Companion Series 85] 2007
► pp. 205–216
Problems in NP structure
An example from British tabloid journalism
This paper considers a textual example of the nominal group found in a British tabloid daily newspaper (The Sun), with a view to examining how far two standard treatments of nominal group/noun phrase structure, directed at a student readership, account for the pattern of pre-modification found in it. The two works referred to are, Greenbaum, S. and R. Quirk (1992) A Student’s Grammar of the English Language, and, Halliday, M.A.K. and C.M.I.M. Matthiessen (2004) An Introduction to Functional Grammar (3rd edn). Halliday’s functional category of ‘classifier’ and Greenbaum and Quirk’s category of ‘noun pre-modifier’ largely overlap, and rules for the relative sequence of different elements in NP/nominal group structure in these two accounts have a good deal in common. Problems with the analysis of the chosen example exist for both. The main distinction between these accounts with respect to pre-modification lies in Halliday’s proposal of a division between a logical and an experiential basis for nominal group analysis. Using the example given, the suggestion is made that these two dimensions are not mutually independent, and that a case can be made that it is set inclusion attributes of the experiential structure that determine the features dealt with under the heading ‘logical structure’ in Halliday’s account.
Published online: 13 July 2007