Last Updated 18 Jan 2017

Word Order in a Noun Phrase and English Anaphors

Category Semiotics
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WORD ORDER IN NP AND ENGLISH ANAPHORS Tereza Stifnerova The purpose of this essay is firstly to show the word order of a noun phrase (NP) and how the head noun of the NP can be post- and pre-modified, and secondly to focus on meaning of some examples of English anaphors and the distinctions between them and their Czech translations. The first part is going to aim on the internal structure of NPs. Complex nominal phrase consists of the pre-modifying elements, the head noun and the post-modifying elements.

The so-called pre-modifiers can be divided into two groups: determiners and prenominals. We have to say that „determiners are obligatory and unique“ (Veselovska:86), and they have a specific place in the noun phrase – they are at the beginning. Among determiners we arrange also the possesives (my, your, etc. ). These two (determiners and possesives) are shown in (1). (1) a/the/my/mum’s mug Prenominals are the adjectives and secondary adjectives between the determiners and the head noun.

They are optional, which means they do not have to be in the NP, and they are recursive – it means they are not lined up in a very strict order, but there are some semantic features which affect the order. (2) a. the small old blue wooden box b. ? the wooden blue old small box c. small the old blue wooden box Post-modifiers, or postnominals, can also have a fixed or a relatively free order. Among elements of these category belong multiple prepositional phrases (3-4), verbs with infinitive or in the –ing form (5-6), clauses (relative clause) (7), complex adjectival phrases (8) and of-phrases (9). 3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) the gift for Jane from Peter ? the gift from Peter to Jane a girl to watch the lector teaching history the gift which you gave me a girl [AP more beautiful than me ] the student of philology Except the last one, the others can be lined up after the head noun in a relatively free order. (10) a book of fairytales tied with a blue ribbon for my daughter As I said, the of-phrase has a fixed place in a word order of a NP – it has to follow the head noun immediately because it is adjacent to the noun. 11) a. an office of the teacher with the white door b. * an office with the white door of the teacher In the second part I am going to translate some examples of English anaphors into Czech and then discuss the meanings of them and I will also try to show the distinctions between English and Czech forms. Here are the examples in English: (a1) Theyi killed themk. (b1) Theyi killed themselvesi. (c1) Theyi killed each otheri. And the translation into Czech: (a2) Oni je zabili. (b2) Oni se zabili. (c2) Oni se zabili (navzajem).

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The example (a1) has the index i with the pronoun they and the index k with the accusative case of the pronoun they, which means that the pronoun they have a meaning of „people“, which are NOT the people included in the meaning of them, i. e. them has the so-called disjoined refference. The following examples (12), (13) and (14) show that in English the nominative and accusative cases of the pronoun they are used to mark different (groups of) people. (12) (13) (14) The thievesi killed themk. The thievesi killed the thievesk. *The thievesi killed the thievesi. the thieves ? them > they are not the same thieves so they cannot have the same index The example (b1) has the index i in both cases – it means that they and themselves includes the same people. Because themselves is a reflexive pronoun, we know that the group of people indicated in they is the same group of people as in themselves. In the example (c1) is shown the same as in the example (b1), although in this case the second pronoun is reciprocal so we know that the group of people included in they consists – in this case – of two people.

It means that the first one killed the second one and conversely the second one killed the first one. It means that the reciprocals „require the antecedent to be plural (the action or relation takes place between the members of the set, reciprocally). “ (Veselovska:104) These anaphors in (b1) and (c1) are also called syntactic anaphors. „Syntactic anaphors have a hierarchically higher antecedent, which means they must be bound in the same clause, usually in the position of Subject or Agent“ (Veselovska:104) as in (15) and (16). (15) (16) We saw ourselves in the mirror. To educate oneself is a choice of every person. urselves > Subject oneself > Agent (of educating) In Czech it is different. The first example (a2) is very simple – the pronouns clearly state who killed whom. Oni killed je, which means one group of people killed the other one. The examples (b2) and (c2) are in Czech similar in form but different in meaning. Nevertheless, in the second case we can optionally add the word navzajem, so it would be more clear who killed whom but basically, the reflexive pronoun se is universal in Czech. BIBLIOGRAPHY Veselovska, Ludmila. A Course In English Morpho-Syntax. UP Olomouc, 2009

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