Chapter

The Proximal and Distal Perspectives in Relation to the Position of Directional Modifiers in the English Noun Phrase

Turo Vartiainen

in Information Structure and Syntactic Change in the History of English

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199860210
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949601 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860210.003.0013

Series: Oxford Studies in the History of English

The Proximal and Distal Perspectives in Relation to the Position of Directional Modifiers in the English Noun Phrase

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This chapter focuses on directional modifiers and the variation they exhibit between the prenominal and the postnominal positions in the English noun-phrase. It argues that if a directional modifier, such as a participle (e.g., following) or an adverb (e.g., above), may occur both in the prenominal and the postnominal position, then this variation follows a general cognitive pattern that is based on conceptualized distance between the conceptualizer and the conceptualized referent/situation. Specifically, it argues that conceptualized proximity is most naturally expressed in the premodifying position, whereas conceptualized distance is usually expressed in the postmodifying position. To support the hypothesis, the chapter draws on linguistic data from corpora of both Present-Day English and the older phases of English, supplementing the corpus data with data taken from dictionaries, books and, occasionally, the Internet.

Keywords: directional modifiers; pronominal; postnominal; Present-Day English; Internet

Chapter.  14028 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Linguistics

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