By James Murray Feist
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Extra info for The order of premodifiers in English nominal phrases
The a the Premodifiers Epithet Descriptor smart blue tight smart [successful] [new] Head Classifier [silk] Viking’s American ‘smart’ bonnet son bomb It is very important to note that when a word occurs in a different zone, it occurs in a different sense (though it may have two or more senses within one zone). In the examples just given the different senses are as follows. ) Det. A Epithet smart <12> “fashionable” tight the [successful] A Premodifiers Descriptor blue smart <8> “quick, active” [new] Head Classifier [silk] bonnet Viking’s son American ‘smart’ <9b> “guided to a target” bomb The same two modifiers may be reversed in order, with one or both words changing their zone and their sense: we can say "red silken cloth" and “silken red cloth”.
Epithet smart blue silk bonnet”, not *“silk smart blue bonnet” or *“smart silk blue bonnet”; so the assignment of smart and blue to zones becomes clear: Det. Premodifiers Head Epithet Descriptor Classifier the smart blue [silk] bonnet That relies, of course, on the reader’s accepting that the amended phrase is idiomatic English, Reinf. , are not. In some of the tables hereafter, I accordingly insert words into attested examples, marking the insertion by square brackets, to make clear which zones words belong in.
2 of chapter 8. Finally, some speakers and writers use punctuation idiosyncratically or incorrectly. (c) Classifiers are another potential source of confusion, since the Classifier zone is more complex than I have indicated so far: we find phrases with several Classifiers, sometimes coordinated and sometimes not, as illustrated below. Det. an Epithet [interesting] [interesting] Premodifiers Descr. Classifier [recent] political, economic and social [old] Roman pagan fertility Head comment festival 99 The term and the example are from Huddleston and Pullum (2002: 561).