Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Group: More Than A Word Complex

Halliday & Matthiessen (2004: 371-2):
Although groups are word complexes, they cannot be fully accounted for as complexes. Groups have developed their own multivariate constituent structures with functional configurations such as the Deictic + Numerative + Epithet + Classifier + Thing of the nominal group in English. Here the elements are
  • (i) distinct in function,
  • (ii) realised by distinct classes, and
  • (iii) more or less fixed in sequence.
A configuration of such a kind has to be represented as a multivariate structure. Treating the group simply as a ‘word complex’ does not account for all these various aspects of its meaning. It is for this reason that we recognise the group as a distinct rank in the grammar.