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Jan Rijkhoff

The Noun Phrase

Research output: Book/anthology/dissertation/reportBookResearchpeer-review

This book investigates noun phrases in a representative sample of the world’s 6000 or so languages and proposes a semantic model to describe their underlying structure in any natural language. It examines the semantic and morpho-syntactic properties of the constituents of noun phrases. In doing so it shows that the noun phrase word order patterns of any human language can be derived from three universal ordering principles and, furthermore, that these are all elaborations of one general iconic ordering strategy according to which elements that belong together semantically tend to occur together syntactically. Professor Rijkhoff analyses the noun phrase as a layered structure, which accommodates modifiers relating to quality, quantity, location, and discourse. Noun phrases and sentences can be similarly analysed, he argues, because they have the same underlying semantic structure with the same kind of modifier categories. He introduces the notion of Seinsart or ‘mode of being’ as the nominal counterpart of Aktionsart or ‘mode of action’ in lexical verb semantics. He furthermore proposes a new grammatical category of nominal aspect (cf. verbal aspect) and an implicational universal concerning the occurrence of adjectives as a major word class in the part-of-speech system of a language. The book aims for accessibility and assumes no knowledge of a particular formal or functional theory of grammar. It addresses professional linguists and students of linguistics of all theoretical persuasions, and will also be of interest to students of the cognitive sciences and philosophy.
Original languageEnglish
Place of publicationOxford and New York
PublisherOxford University Press
EditionRevised and extended paperback
Number of pages434
ISBN (Print)978-0-19-926964-8
ISBN (Electronic)9780191706776
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Bibliographical note

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010.

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