Friday, 13 September 2019

Embedding: Premodifier–Postmodifier Agnation And Complexity

Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 491n):
We can say that it’s a mechanism whereby a clause or word comes to function as a word, and there may be agnation between words as Premodifiers and phrases or clauses as Postmodifiers, e.g. an new car ~ a car [[that is new]]; a passenger car ~ a car for passengers; an electric car ~ a car [[ [that is] powered by electricity]]. This is reflected in the use of terms such as ‘adjective clause’ (for relative clauses serving as Postmodifier) and ‘noun clause’ (for clauses serving as Head). However, often downranked phrases and clauses construe meanings that are more complex than those lexicalised by words that can serve as Premodifiers. For example, relative clauses typically construe meanings that are in some sense more complex than those construed by adjectives, and the qualities they construe are often instantial ones rather than permanent ones inherent in the Thing; cf. his new car with his car [[that gave off macho growls at the traffic lights]] and the only kind person with the only person [[who was kind to him at all ]].