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Internal structure of the NP

A noun phrase (NP) has one obligatory component, which is a noun(Van Rooy 2017:268). A number of other components can be used in an NP, and they would be in the order: (1) predeterminer, (2) determiner, (3) quantifier or numeral, (4) adjective(s), (5) noun, (6) postmodifier. Typically not all of these occur simultaneously in an NP, but many of them can, as illustrated in (1).

Example 1

[so]predeterminer ['n]determiner [lekker kreatiewe]AP [taal]noun [wat dinge so kan raaksê]postmodifying relative clause
[such] [a] [nice creative] [language] [that.REL things so can right.say]
such a nice and creative language that can express things so accurately

A noun phrase (NP) can have a number of different internal configurations, depending on all of the components that are present in a particular NP. As mentioned above, only the noun is obligatory, as illustrated in (2a). Other common configurations are a determiner and noun, or determiner, adjective and noun (2b), an adjective and noun (2c), and it can have a determiner, quantifier, adjective and noun (2d), a quantifier, adjective and noun or just a numeral and noun (2e). Two common postmodifiers are relative clauses (2f) and prepositional phrases (PP) (2g). Example (2h) illustrates a particularly complex NP, with a predeterminer, determiner, adjective, noun, and postmodifier (PP).

Example 2

a. [Mense] hou van kommunikeer.
people like of communicate
People like to communicate.
b. [Die spyskaart] is ['n lywige dokument].
the menu be.PRS a lengthy document
The menu is a lengthy document.
c. Ek het vanmiddag [lekker kos] vir almal gekook.
I have.AUX this.afternoon nice food for everybody cook.PST
I cooked tasty food for everybody this afternoon.
d. [Daardie een ou klippie] maak die hele hoop gruis die moeite werd.
that one old rock.DIM make the whole heap gravel the trouble worth
That one small rock makes the whole heap of gravel worth the trouble.
e. Hy het [baie aardse besittings] en [drie honde].
he have many earthly possessions and three dogs
He has lots of possessions and three dogs.
VivA-KPO, adapted
f. Pat was ['n persoon wat die lewe gelewe het].
Pat be.PRT a person that.REL the life live.PST have.AUX
Pas was a person who lived life fully.
g. Klik op [die skakel aan die einde van hierdie nuusitem].
click on the link at the end of this news.item
Click on the link at the end of this news item.
h. Ek hoor [al julle praktiese navrae oor die blogs] hard en duidelik.
I hear all your.PL practical enquiries about the blogs loud and clear
I hear all of your practical enquiries about the blogs loud and clear.

More information is available for the different components of an NP. Information about the semantic properties of nouns and NPs can be found in Semantic properties of nouns. Predeterminers has more information on predeterminers, Determiners on determiners, and Quantifiers on quantifiers. More information on the modification of NPs can be found in Modification of NPs. NP complementation is discussed at length in Complementation of NPs.

  • Van Rooy, B2017Kontemporêre Afrikaanse taalkunde [Contemporary Afrikaans linguistics]Afrikaanse sintaksis, funksioneel benader [Afrikaans syntax, functionally approached]Van Schaik Uitgewers251-297
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