Construction or Constructing? Some Observations on English Deverbal and Gerundial Nouns
Keywords:deverbal nouns, gerundial nouns, gerundial cline, nominalisation, nominal phrase, syntax, semantics
AbstractEnglish deverbal and gerundial nouns are traditionally analysed as instances of verbal nominalisations with a hybrid syntactic and semantic nature: while predominantly having nominal properties, they display some of the verbal characteristics as well. Using relevant examples from English corpora (BNC, ukWaC, enTenTen13), the paper examines the similarities and differences between the two types of nominalisations with special focus on their syntactic and semantic properties. The paper discusses deverbal/gerundial nouns in relation to the s.c. gerundial cline, which refers to the gradual process of nominalisation as observed in English. The analysis of examples shows that gerundial nouns are typically associated with the eventive interpretation, and that the structure of the nominal phrase headed by a gerundial noun directly reflects the syntactic properties of the verbal root. Deverbal nouns, on the other hand, are typically associated with the result-object interpretation, and the structure of the nominal phrase headed by a deverbal noun is less dependent on the syntactic properties of the verbal root. Despite these apparent differences, corpus data also reveal that the converse is also true: deverbal nouns can be used as gerundial nouns and vice versa.
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Copyright (c) 2016 Gašper Ilc
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