Noun modification in fiction and academic prose


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The article examines noun modification in fiction and academic prose with a view to ascertaining features classifiable as style markers. Noun phrases in two text samples were classified according to whether or not they contained modification, and in the case of modified noun phrases with respect to the types, realization forms and distribution of the modifiers. Noun phrases devoid of modifiers displayed a significant distinction in the relatively high representation of proper names in fiction as compared with their marginal occurrence in academic prose. Modified noun phrases revealed qualitative, rather than quantitative differences, especially in the semantics of premodifiers. In academic prose premodifying adjectives and ing-participles were mostly classifiers constituting components of zoological terms, while premodifiers in fiction were largely descriptive or evaluative. The differences in the quantitative results compared with the data in Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English are to be ascribed to the limited amount of the research material and the specific features of the employed text sample within the respective text genre.


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