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Word Order In Single-Modifier Nps

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Chapter Summary

This chapter describes the least complicated word order patterns, viz. the ordering patterns of single-modifier noun phrases (NPs). It argues that the preposed part of a single-modifier NP is somehow pragmatically marked, or at least more strongly marked than the postposed part. The nature of this pragmatic marking may be twofold: the prenominal modifier may be contrastive or may for some other reason be the most salient element of the NP. We expect postnominal modifiers to be less salient than the noun. The order of the constituents of the NP that is preferred by the pragmatic ordering principle that the most salient information should be expressed first may also be thwarted by word order rules at the level of the clause. Finally, the chapter focuses on a few particular modifiers, but because it is more difficult to see that these modifiers conform to the rules.

Keywords: clause; postnominal modifier; prenominal modifier; single-modifier noun phrases (NPs); word order

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