Thursday, 18 October 2012

Common Nouns: The Grammatical Relevance Of Traditional Categories

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 326):
There is a long tradition of characterising such phenomena, in grammar books, as a list of very general categories, for example ‘persons, other living beings, objects (concrete or abstract), collectives, institutions’. These are relevant grammatically because they relate to a cline of potential agency — that is, the likelihood of functioning as Actor/Agent in the clause; the most likely being persons (human nouns), and the least likely being concrete objects.

Common Nouns: Names For Classes Of Things

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 326):
Common nouns … are nouns that are common (ie generalised) to a class of referents. These name all the classes of phenomena that the language admits as things, and hence as participants in processes of any kind.