Noun Phrase Premodification by Participles
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 Galic Dejan Milinovic 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 stand alone and need a modifier: A green-haired monster A one-legged puppet On the other hand, we also have borderline examples: A trained dog / A well-trained dog
Here we can ask ourselves if the former phrase is semantically correct, since there is no concrete answer in linguistics. 2. 2. –ing participle Similar to –ed participle, the –ing participle can also be used in premodification and postmodification. However, -ing participle tends not to show permanence as opposed to –ed participle. When it comes to –ing participle, we also have difference concerning the use of definite and indefinite articles. While the indefinite article is usually connected to permanency, the definite article is connected to temporariness. Thus we may find this sentence a little bit awkward and the one after just ine: The approaching train is from Liverpool He was frightened by an approaching train. We can also use the definite article for some kind of generalization: The beginning student should not be encouraged that much. The participle here, although we have the definite article before it, shows us that this statement applies to every student who is a beginner in that particular field, not that it is about a certain student. The definite article can be intensified using the –ing participle after it, for example: A proposal offending many members = the offending proposal This intensifies both the noun and the adjective/participle. . 3. The difference Now, if we want to differentiate –ed and –ing participles, we can easily do that through these examples: I am very bored in class ? I am very boring in class The former sentence means that I find the class boring and the latter one means that I am boring, i. e. that I make people in class bored. In other words, -ed denotes a condition or a feeling and -ing denotes action or a characteristic of a person or thing. The best way to show the difference is to use both participles/adjectives in the same sentence: I am annoyed by how annoying that person is. She was confused by the confusing instruction.
Of course, it is unlikely that we will hear these kinds of sentences since these adjectives seem redundant in the same sentence, but they are good examples for this matter. Also, there are cases where participles in premodification show that the characteristic given to the noun is permanent or attached only to the time of speaking: We caught the falling tiles. The fallen tiles remained intact. In this case, the –ing participle shows simultaneity of the verb and the feature. However, in the second sentence it shows that the action has already finished when the noun gained the feature.
When it comes to differences, it is very important to remember that not all participle-like words are actually participles. At the beginning of this chapter it is stated that participles function almost exactly as adjectives. That is true but only to a certain extent. According to Laczko, there is no unique set of rules for analyzing participle-like premodifiers in a noun phrase: there has to be one for true –ing and –ed participles and the other one for participles converted into adjectives. 3. Possible translations into Serbian Translating is one of the skills that are pretty hard to master.
Not everyone is a born translator. However, some things follow a pattern while being translated. Premodification in noun phrase is one of those things. Since Serbian does not have a strict word order and Serbian noun phrases differ from the English ones, we mostly have to seek for another way of translating sentences. To make it easier, as it is already mentioned, sample sentences will be used. There are phrases structured as the following ones: The vanished treasure = Blago koje je nestalo/Nestalo blago Increased prices = Cijene koje su u porastu
A retired teacher = Penziosani ucitelj/Ucitelj koji se penzionisao As we can see, in almost every case we can translate –ed participle with a relative clause in Serbian that starts with “koji/koje/koja”. Then, we have phrases we can translate word for word: A born musician = Rodeni muzicar A married man = Ozenjeni covjek There is a similarity between English and Serbian in the following two sentences: He was a surprised person = Bio je iznenadena osoba He had a very surprised expression = Imao je veoma iznenaden izraz lica In both of these languages, there is something off with the first sentence, whereas the second one sounds natural.
However, there are many phrases where our only option is descriptive translation. A green-haired monster = Cudoviste sa zelenom kosom A one-legged puppet = Lutak s jednom nogom The translation of –ing premodified noun phrases is somewhat similar to the translation of the –ed premodified noun phrases. But there are cases where a sentence in Serbian sounds natural although its English equivalent sounds wrong. The approaching train is from Liverpool = Voz koji se pribizava je iz Liverpula However, we also have phrases that are three words long in English and one in Serbian:
The beginning student should not be encouraged that much. = Pocetnik ne treba toliko da se ohrabruje All this shows that a lot of factors influence the translation. We have to pay attention to words as well to semantics, syntax, etc. Nothing is to be neglected. Conclusion Through the examples that are presented in this paper, the basics of the use of participles in noun phrase premodification should be explained. Although the area of participles themselves, that is, of their use, was tapped into, it is essential to know the basic difference between the present and the past participle.
Without knowing that, there is no way to correctly construct a noun phrase. The other thing emphasized here is the translation of the premodifiers. It is essential to know how to draw parallels between two languages for all English as Second Language learners. Also, it is important for us to practice transferring our “sense for language” from our mother tongue to English. References 1. Quirk and S. Greenbaum. A University Grammar of English. London: Longman, 1973 2. Quirk, Greenbaum and Others. A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. London: Longman, 1985 3. Tibor Laczko.
Another look at participles and adjectives in the English DP. Hong Kong: CSLI Publications, 2001 ——————————————– [ 2 ]. Quirk, Greenbaum and Others. A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (London: Longman, 1985) [ 3 ]. ibid [ 4 ]. ibid [ 5 ]. Quirk and S. Greenbaum. A University Grammar of English. (London: Longman, 1973) [ 6 ]. Quirk, Greenbaum and Others. A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (London: Longman, 1985) [ 7 ]. Tibor Laczko. Another look at participles and adjectives in the English DP. (Hong Kong: CSLI Publications, 2001)