the distinction between compound noun and NP

bingfu bingfu at USC.EDU
Sun May 31 00:34:38 UTC 1998

About the category of 'fun' in 'fun game', which is hotly discussed
in the discussion about recent change of English, in linguist list.

There seems no clear demarcation between compound nouns and
[adjecitve + noun] NPs in English. However, this demarcation appear
formally clear
in Chinese. In Chinese, all [modifier + noun] structures are
compounds while all [modifier + de + noun] structures are
noncompound, either [adjective + noun] NPs or [relative + noun]
NPs.  In fact, in Chinese there is no distinction between the above two
modification, which is clearly distinguished in English.

Thus, there seems to be a typology of modification hierarchy as
the following.

 		relative clause	  adjectival one     in-compound one,
Chinese:     	________________________________     ________________
English:	_______________   ___________________________________

In other words,
Chinese makes clear distinction between relative clauses/adjectival
modifiers vs. in-compound modifiers; while English makes the distinction
mainly between relative clauses vs. adjectival/in-compound modifiers.

If your native language is not English and Chinese, please tell me which
is is similar to: Chinese or English?

If responses are sufficient, I will make a summary.

Bingfu Lu

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