As tos without head, they do not seem to share any common structure, peculiar to all groups within this type. In other words, s without the head are structurally more various than word combinations with the head. Elements in word combinations without the head may be linked by the three types of relations: interdependence, coordination and accumulation. First of all, however, word combinations without the head are divided into two main groups: independent and dependent. Independent word combinations are structures that may be identified as grammatically organized groups without complimentary context: short and simple, winning and losing, they married.
Dependent groups have other specific features. These word combinations may not be identified as grammatically organized groups without complimentary context that functions as background against which dependent word combinations are interpreted as syntactically organized structures: her successful (career), quaint baroque (architecture), (agree) straight away, (write) him a letter, (stay) at home all day.
Both independent and dependent groups are divided into further structures: 1) morphologicallyand 2) morphologically heterogeneous. Morphologically word combinations consist of units belonging to one part-of-speech: short and simple, hot tasty (pie). Morphologically heterogeneous word combinations are formed by elements of different word classes: Jack smiled, (see) them approaching.
Independent morphologically homogeneous word combinations are based on co-ordination expressed either by means of a co-ordinate conjunction (ladies and gentlemen) or without it (insects, birds, mammalia).
Independent morphologically heterogeneous word combinations are represented by the only type, namely by word combinations based on predication: she sang, the car broke down.
Morphologically homogeneous word combinations include only one type of constructions, i.e. groups based on accumulation: old black (cat).
Morphologically heterogeneous dependent structures may be of two types: 1) with accumulative relation between components (e.g. his black (shoes)), and 2) with secondary predication (e.g. (to see) him leave).
Morphologically heterogeneous dependent structures are usually represented by attributive regressive word combinations if they are based on accumulative relations (e.g. their expensive (house)). However, constructions of object and adverbial nature are also possible: (to speak) to me about this event, (to come) here to interfere into my work.
Dependent word combinations without the head based on(secondary predication) are expressed by means of the complex object – (to hear) the door slam – or absolute constructions – (she left the room), her face pale; the wind getting chilly, (we returned to the hotel).
The list of word combinations mentioned above does not exhaust all possible classes. Still, the list contains the main types of constructions. As a result, word combinations with pronominal heads have not been highlighted, since pronouns as well as numerals have syntactic peculiarities similar to those of nouns and adjectives but are characterized by a narrower combina-bility: (to have touched) the real you..
When dealing with the attempts to classify word combinations, it is impossible not to mention structural types of components within word combinations. Elements of a word combination turn out to be either structurally simple or structurally complex, which enables us to form another classification.
Complex structures may be formed in many ways, which requires special study. Simple components are, in their turn, interpreted as separate words or word groups that include either attributive elements or adverbial elements denoting degree.
Complex elements are traditionally treated as structures based on secondary predication, e.g. complex object (Illness made her feel desperate). However, word combination members are defined in terms of syntactic elements. It is well-known that syntactic elements are characterized by certain positions that may be filled both by a certain morphological class and by other units. In other words, syntactic positions may be filled not only by words but also by word combinations of various types. Thus, particular attention should be paid to syntactic positions that may be taken by predicative units, i.e. by units traditionally called “subordinate clauses”.
Studies show that any syntactic element, except simple predicate, may be expressed by means of a certain type of predicative unit. For example, the position of the object may be occupied by a predicative unit: I know where they lived.
Similar phenomena may occur in other syntactic positions: the subject and the predicative – What we thought was that they had returned back to the hotel a bit earlier, the attribute – the letter we sent, the adverbial modifier –When she e-mailed the request, she found the information in the Internet.
Classification of word combinations
|Word combinations with the head|
|1. Adverbial Head||2. Adjectival head||3. Nounal head||4. Nounal head||5. Adjectival head||6. Verbal head||7. Prepositional head|
Examples: 1. very slowly; 2. absolutely beautiful; 3. a high building; 4. expectations of success; 5. prone to disobedience; 6. paint a picture; 7. at a station
|Word combinations without the head|
|8. Syndetic co-ordination||9. Asyndetic co-ordination||10. Interdependent primary predication||11. Accumulation||12. Interdependentsecondary
Examples: 8. black and white; 9. men, women, children; 10. they left; 11. old quaint (house); 12. (they watched) the sun go down
As one may see, any position in the sentence may be taken by the predicative unit. It is an acknowledged fact in linguistics that predicative units may function as part of a word combination. This fact, however, results in controversy, since recognizing a predicative unit as a component of a word combination means denying the subordinate clause its status of a unique-syntactic structure.
Sometimes word combinations are analyzed in terms of the morphological status of words combined rather than in terms of the relations between these words. If studied from this angle, the type “noun + noun” is a most usual type of word combination in Modern English. It must be divided into two subtypes, depending on the form of the first component, which may be in the common or in the possessive case.
Another very common type is “adjective + noun”, which is used to express all possible kinds of things with their properties.
The type “verb + noun” may correspond to two different types of relation between an action and a thing. In the vast majority of cases the noun denotes an object of the action expressed by the verb, but in a certain number of word combinations it denotes a measure, rather than the object, of the action. This may be seen in such word combinations as walk a mile, sleep an hour, wait a minute, etc. It is only the meaning of the verb and that of the noun that enables the hearer or reader to understand the relation correctly. The meaning of the verb divides, for example, the word combination wait a minute from the word combination appoint an hour!, and shows the relations in the two word combinations to be basically different.
In the similar way other types of word combinations should be set down and analyzed. Among them will be the types “verb + adverb”, “adverb + adjective”, “adverb + adverb”, “noun + preposition + noun”, “adjective + preposition + noun”, “verb + preposition + noun”, etc.
An important question arises concerning the“noun + verb”. In linguistic theory, different opinions have been put forward on this issue. One view is that the word combination type “noun + verb” (which is sometimes called “predicative word combination”) exists and ought to be studied just like any other word combination type such as we have enumerated above. The other view is that no such type as “noun + verb” exists, as the combination “noun + verb” constitutes a sentence rather than a word combination. The opponents to this approach do not consider this argument convincing. They believe that if one takes the combination “noun + verb” as a sentence, which is sometimes possible, one analyzes it on a different level, namely, on the sentence level, and what one discovers on the sentence level cannot affect analysis on the word combination level. They argue that if one takes, for example, the group a man writes on the word combination level, this means that each of the components can be changed in accordance with its paradigm in any way so long as the connection with the other component does not prevent this. In the given case, the first component, man, can be changed in number, that is, it can appear in the plural form, and the second component, writes, can be changed according to the verbal categories of aspect, tense, correlation, and mood (the change of the verb in person is dictated by the first component, and the change of voice is impossible due to the meaning). Thus, the groups a man writes, a man wrote, men are writing, men have written, a man would have been writing etc. may all be viewed as variants of the same word combination, just as man and men are forms of the same noun, while writes, wrote, has written etc. are forms of the same verb. Proponents of this approach insist that a word combination as such has no intonation of its own, no more than a word as such has one. On the sentence level things are different. A man writes as a sentence is not the same sentence as Men have been writing, but a different sentence.
It is in such a way that the status of the“noun + verb” as a word combination is corroborated.
Word combinations consisting of two components may be enlarged by addition of a third component, and so forth, for instance the word combination“adjective + noun” (warm day) may be enlarged by the addition of an adjective in front, so that the type “adjective + adjective + noun” arises (wonderful warm day). This, in its turn, may be further enlarged by more additions. The limit of the possible extension of a word combination is impossible to define.