Sunday, 8 May 2016

Exploiting Semogenic Potential: The Structure Of The Nominal Group

Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 540):
The second of the resources that was brought into play was a syntactic one, the structure of the nominal group. The nominal group of ancient Greek was very like that of modern English: it had a similar arrangement of elements around the Head noun, allowing both prepositional phrases and clauses in modifying function (with some difference of ordering), and included among its deictic elements one which was very close to the English the. Thus any noun could accumulate qualifying clauses and phrases which were explicitly signalled as defining, analogous to English the electrons in an atom, the angles which make up a triangle. One context which demanded elaborate nominal group structures of this kind was that of mathematics, as scholars conducted more and more sophisticated measurements, for example in their attempts to understand planetary motion.