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nominalization c2

Aug 08, 2018



Shayne Buhayan
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    This chapter presents the review of related literature

    and studies relevant in the nominalization of verbs. The

    concepts derived from these readings give further insights

    into the topic under consideration.

    Chomskys Remarks on Nominalization

    In his 1970 paper Remarks on Nominalization, Noam

    Chomsky (1970) provided several arguments for the lexical

    hypothesis, namely the idea that nouns like refusal,

    rejection, growth, and so on are nouns throughout the

    entire syntactic derivation (Chomsky, 1970).

    In Chomskys view, a person who has learned a language

    has acquired a system of rules that relate sound and

    meaning in a certain specific way. He has, in other words,

    acquired a certain competence that he puts to use in

    producing and understanding speech (Chomsky, 1970). Since

    the central task of descriptive linguistics is to construct

    grammars of specific languages, language-learning then is

    the process of selecting a grammar of the appropriate form

    that relates sound and meaning (Chomsky, 1970).

    Grammar is a tightly organized system. If we modify

    one part, it generally involves widespread modification of

    other facets. It follows, then, that enrichment of one

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    component of the grammar will permit simplification in

    other parts. Thus certain descriptive problems can be

    handled by enriching the lexicon and simplifying the

    categorical component of the base, or conversely; or by

    simplifying the base at the cost of greater complexity of

    transformations, or conversely (Chomsky, 1970).

    However, the proper balance between various components

    of the grammar is entirely an empirical issue. There are no

    general considerations that settle this matter but rather,

    the evaluation procedure must itself be selected on

    empirical grounds to get the correct answer. It would be

    pure dogmatism to maintain, without empirical evidence,

    that the categorical component, or the lexicon, or the

    transformational component must be narrowly constrained by

    universal conditions, the variety and complexity of

    language being attributed to the other components (Chomsky,


    It is in this regard that Chomskys lexicalist

    hypothesis on nominalization arose. According to a paper by

    Frederick J. Newmeyer (2011) on Chomsky (1970), Chomsky

    argued that an important class of nominalizations what he

    called derived nominals were listed in the lexicon as

    such; that is, they did not occur underlyingly in full

    sentences, nor were they derived transformationally from

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    verbs (Newmeyer, 2011). He also enumerated, based on

    Chomskys (1970) paper, three types of nominalization in

    English. First, he called attention to gerundive nominals,

    as in (1):

    (1) a. Johns riding his bicycle rapidly (surprised me).b. Marys not being eager to please (was


    c. Sues having solved the problem (made life easy

    for us).

    Second, he pointed to derived nominals, as in (2):

    (2) a. Johns decision to leave (surprised me).b. Marys eagerness to please (was unexpected).

    c. Sues help (was much appreciated).

    And he referred to an intermediate class, as in (3),

    all of whose members have the suffix ing like gerundive


    (3) a. Johns refusing of the offerb. Johns proving of the theorem

    c. the growing of tomatoes

    (Newmeyer, 2011).

    Chomsky had no problem with the idea that gerundive

    nominals are desentential, given that they exhibit all the

    hallmarks of full sentences. His lexicalist hypothesis,

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    however, posited that derived nominals (DN) are dimply

    listed as nouns in the lexicon (Newmeyer, 2011).

    Furthermore, Newmayer states, Chomsky gave three

    arguments for lexicalist hypothesis. He calls the first one

    the Idiosyncrasy Argument (Newmeyer, 2011). It was well

    accepted that a transformational rule should capture a

    regular productive relationship, but the relationship

    between DNs and their corresponding verbs is highly

    irregular, because, for one thing, not every DN has a

    corresponding verb (Chomsky, 1970). In those cases in which

    no verb corresponding to a DN exists, a transformational

    account would have to invent an abstract verb whose only

    function would be to undergo the nominalization

    transformation, e.g. do to deed. Chomsky further argued

    that lexicalist treatment of DNs could allow their

    irregularity to be captured in a natural manner (Newmeyer,


    Chomskys second argument for the lexicalist

    hypothesis was dubbed by Newmeyer as the Internal

    Structure Argument (Newmeyer, 2011). Its point of

    departure is that fact that the structures in which DNs

    occur resemble noun phrases in every way. They can contain

    determiners, pronominal adjectives, and prepositional

    phrase complements, but not adverbs, negation, aspect, nor

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    tense (Newmeyer, 2011). Such facts follow automatically if

    DNs are nouns in the lexicon and are inserted as such; that

    is, a lexicalist treatment predicts them to have the same

    distribution as ordinary nouns (Newmeyer, 2011).

    Chomskys third argument, the Frozen Structure

    Argument, was more complex. The problem in need of

    explanation is that DNs occur in noun phrase corresponding

    to base structures, but not to transformationally derived

    structures (Chomsky, 1970).

    Based on his findings, Chomsky concludes that the

    transformational hypothesis is correct for the gerundive

    nominals and the lexical hypothesis for the lexical

    hypothesis for the derived nominals and perhaps, though

    much less clearly so, for the mixed forms (Chomsky, 1970).

    The Process of Nominalization

    Conversion is the formation of new words by converting

    words of one class into another class, i.e. by turning

    words of one part of speech to those of another part of

    speech in traditional terms (

    Nominalization is one such process. Quoting The Oxford

    Companion to English Language (1992), Jezdinka (2008)

    defines nominalization as the process or result of forming

    a noun from a word belonging to another word class or the

    process or result of deriving a noun phrase by a

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    transformation from a finite clause (Jezdinka, 2008). To

    put it simply, nominalization is the process of

    transforming verbs, adjectives, or adverbs into nouns

    (Cameron, 2011).

    Two types of nominalization are found in English. One

    type requires the addition of a derivational suffix to

    create a noun. In other cases, English uses the same word

    as noun without any additional morphology. This second

    process is referred to as zero-derivation


    In creating nominalizations with derivational

    morphology, a grammatical expression is turned into a noun

    phrase by use of affixes. For example, in the sentence

    Combine the two chemicals, combine acts as a verb. This

    can be turned into a noun via the addition of the suffix

    -ation, as in The experiment involved the combination of

    the two chemicals. Additional examples of this is failure

    (from fail), movement (from move) and reaction (from

    react). An especially common case of verbs being used as

    nouns is the addition of the suffix ing, known in English

    as a gerund. Some examples are swimming (from swim),

    running (from run), and editing (from edit)


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    In nominalization using the process of zero-

    derivation, verbs and sometimes adjectives in English can

    be used directly as nouns without the addition of a

    derivational suffix. Some examples include:


    I need a change. (noun) I will change. (verb)


    The murderof the man was tragic. (noun) He will murderthe man. (verb)

    In addition to true zero derivation, English also has

    a number of words which, depending on subtle changes in

    pronunciation, are either nouns or verbs. One such type is

    the change in stress placement, as in the case of REcord

    (noun) and


    Moultman (2006) refers to nominalization as the

    linguistic process that turns expressions of various

    categories into nouns (Moultman, 2006). He enumerated four

    views, or four types of nominalization:

    1.Nominalizations that refer to an argument of the baseexpression. Some cases of this kind are agent and

    result nominalizations, as well as event


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    2.Nominalizations that refer to reifications ofmeanings. These are supposed to act as singular terms

    referring to the meaning of the adjectives from which

    they are derived, i.e. the properties such adjectives


    3.Nominalizations that introduce new objects. Theserefer to objects whose nature is entirely given by the

    meaning of the base expression without being identical

    to that meaning.

    4.Nominalizations that do not refer at all. In thisview, there are no actual objects nominalizations of

    the relevant sort stand for.

    There are several reasons for nominalization. One is

    that it makes texts impersonal and authoritative. By

    turning actions into nouns we make the texts sound less

    personal and more authoritative. Another is to add

    informationnominalization is particularly useful because

    we can do several things to add information to nouns. The

    last is to avoid repetition. We can use nominalization to

    avoid repetition when we want to refer back to a previously

    mentioned idea; i.e. nominalization can paraphrase what has

    been said


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    Deverbal Nouns

    There are three kinds of nominalizations: deverbal

    (verbs to nouns), de-adjective (adjectives to nouns) and

    miscellaneous others ( For the purpose of

    discussion in this paper, we will concentrate on deverbals,

    or the nominalization of verbs.

    In grammar, deverbal nouns are nouns derived from

    verbs or verb phrases. Deverbals may be categorized

    semantically according to what facet of the process is

    construed as a thing

    ( Deverbal

    nouns are extremely common in written and spoken English

    (Crouch, De Paiva, Gurevich and King, 2006).

    Despite the frequency of deverbal nouns, most lexical

    resources currently available do not provide systematic

    correspondences between deverbals and verbs (Crouch,,

    2006). Citing Roeper (2005), Monika Rathert and Artemis

    Alexiadou (2010) even assert that deverbal nouns have been

    important and controversial in linguistic research, as they

    constitute an instance of structures showing categorically

    ambivalent behavior (Rathert and Alexiadou, 2010).

    As is often the case with derived words, some

    deverbals are highly lexicalized and no longer retain a

    connection to the original verb (Crouch,, 2006).

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    Also, according to Crouch, (2006), the

    linguistic literature distinguishes two types of nominals:

    so-called process nominals and result nominals. Process

    nominals imply that the event has taken place, and the

    nominal refers to the action. Result nominals, by contrast,

    refer to the goal or result of the process. Thus, result

    nominals are less action-like (Crouch,, 2006).

    On the other hand, Andersen (2000) postulates that

    deverbal nouns are hybrid forms between the categories noun

    and verb. This means more specifically that they share

    some characteristics typical of verbs and some

    characteristics typical of nouns (Andersen, 2000).

    Although nouns and verbs are semantically related, the

    issue of whether nouns, like verbs, license argument

    structure has provoked a great deal of controversy

    (Alexiadou, 2001). For instance, according to Andersen

    (2000), typical nouns have specific reference as opposed to

    typical verbs, which do not refer at all. Typical nouns

    denote countable entities or objects and are easily

    pluralized as opposed to verbs (Andersen, 2000). However,

    in recent years, there is a certain amount of consensus

    that nouns do not behave uniformly with respect to the

    licensing of argument structure. Some nouns are

    systematically like verbs in their argument-taking

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    capacities, while others are quite different and in fact

    take no arguments at all (Alexiadou, 2001). Specifically,

    Grimshaw (1990) in Alexiadou (2001) claims that nouns

    denoting complex events, like verbs, also have an argument

    structure, since they denote events breaking into aspectual

    subparts. On the other hand, nouns that denote simple

    events do not have an argument structure (Alexiadou, 2011).

    In this regard, deverbals are a hybrid of the

    properties of nouns and verbs. Deverbal nouns have

    reference, but they tend to have generic reference rather

    than specific, which means they often lack determiners,

    plural markers, and have argument structure (Andersen,

    2000). The ability to refer is a typical nominal property,

    the most typical way being the anaphoric reference where an

    antecedent is involveda characteristic also shared by

    deverbal nouns (Andersen, 2000).

    So, all in all, Andersen (2000) concludes, deverbal

    nouns share characteristics of both nouns and verbs

    (Andersen, 2000). The most productive morphological types

    are the ones which are closest to the verb. The process

    nominals are closer to the verb than the result nominals.

    Arguments against Nominalization

    As mentioned before, nominalizations make your texts

    impersonal and authoritative. Hence, it is widely used in

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    the academic circles, by lawyers, bureaucrats and business

    writers. Nominalization, they think, makes them sound

    intellectual and deep, and so they tend to use it a lot.

    However, some writers beg to differ. Some of them

    think that overuse of nominalizations can actually do more

    harm than good.

    According to Helen Swords New York Times Article

    Zombie Nouns (July 23, 2012), she calls nominalized words

    as zombie nouns because they cannibalize active verbs,

    suck the lifeblood from adjectives and substitute abstract

    entities for human beings (Sword, 2012). She adds that

    zombie nouns are at their worst when they gather in

    jargon-generating packs and infect every noun, verb, and

    adjective in sight (Sword, 2012). They also impede clear

    communication, and send the students a dangerous message

    that people who use big words are smarter or at least

    appear to be than those who dont (Sword, 2012). All in

    all, Sword concludes, a paragraph heavily populated by

    nominalizations will send the readers straight to sleep

    (Sword, 2012).

    Brady Spangenbergs article in The Grammar Gang Blog

    ( on avoiding

    nominalizations (April 4, 2009) points out to

    nominalization as one major cause of clunkiness that

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    is, it seems as if the writer goes through the series of

    wordy gymnastics and still doesnt get his or her point

    across (Spangenberg, 2009). Nominalizations make4

    sentences feature many more prepositions, helping verbs,

    and passive constructions, all of which tend to slow down

    your sentences and confuse your readers (Spangenberg,


    Jocelyn Sykoras article on nominalizations


    rces/writing_pamphlets/nominalizations.shtml) asserts that,

    while nominalizations are useful in some cases, problems

    arise when nominalizations and weak verbs begin to form

    patterns. These patterns result in clunky and unclear

    sentences (Sykora, 2010).

    According to Bridget McKenna (2010) in her online

    article Words that Move (and Words that Dont)


    language/nominalizations/), nominalizations have a way of

    limiting us in our thinking. It is because once we have

    defined something, we can sometimes find it difficult to

    re-define it. She cites as example love: as a noun it has

    the attributes of a thing, while as a process it now has

    duration and is subject to change (McKenna, 2010). In

    short, nominalization is freezing a process.

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    Dr. Kip Wheelers(2012) article calls nominalization a

    type of wordiness (Wheeler, 2012). He begins by saying

    beginning writers have trouble developing sufficient

    length, while more advanced writers have trouble being

    concise. As young writers become more comfortable writing,

    they often develop bad habits such as what he calls

    grammatical nominalization, referring to a type of

    wordiness in which both a noun and a verb is used when a

    verb alone is enough. Nominalization may also involve

    phrases like there is or there are to begin sentences,

    or excessive use of to-be verbs, making the sentence weak

    (Wheeler, 2012).

    Joe Cheals(2008) article also states that the

    conscious mind likes to work with things they are more

    solid, graspable and fixed. Nominalizations, according to

    Cheal, are the conscious minds attempt at stopping the

    world to have a look at it, to work with it and perhaps to

    feel a sense of control (Cheal, 2008). While nominalization

    is a useful thing, at other times it can be unhelpful and

    confusing, and one of its confusing aspects is that they

    are likely to have a wide degree of meanings. Thus, Cheal

    enumerates the following cons in the use of nominalizations

    (Cheal, 2008):

    Misunderstanding due to vagueness

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    Collective term and therefore lacks specificity Creates an inaccurate representation of the world Creates a stuckness if treated as real Can create polarity tensions, dilemmas and paradox.

    The book Hot Text: Web Writing that Works (2010:209)

    state that continuous transforming of actions into things

    gets prose clotted. Readers struggle to figure out who does

    what, because the prose seems full of objects with only a

    few fuzzy actions.

    Nick Daws in his article dated May 31, 2010


    why-you-should.html) one common characteristic of

    nominalization is that it makes a term more verbose. While

    it is not ungrammatical, high levels of nominalization can

    make any book or article sound flat and dull (Daws, 2010).

    All in all, these arguments against the use of

    nominalizations agree over one thing: that use of

    nominalization makes a work wordy and vague.

    Arguments for Nominalization

    Though some writers advise against nominalization,

    there are some instances that nominalization can be useful,

    especially in presentation of facts.

    An article by David Crystal dated August 27, 2008 in

    his blog (

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    nominalisations.html) quotes a correspondent to be saying

    that there seems to be instances where nominalizations are

    useful, particularly in academic writing (Crystal, 2008).

    In fact, he says, nominalization has been present in

    English since the beginning. What was actually being asked

    to avoid are the overuse of two processes: (a) long words

    formed with a suffix and (b) sentences where a noun phrase

    derives from a finite clause (Crystal, 2008). But overuse

    is not the same as use, Crystal argues, and no one can

    avoid using nominalizations. Nominalization allows us the

    option of being more abstract and impersonal (Crystal,


    According to Barsalou, (2010) nominalizing a

    process may license a variety of (mistaken) assumptions

    about it: (1) a simple, well-defined representation

    suffices to capture the processs content; (2) the process

    is relatively stable across time and contexts; (3) the

    process is easy to manipulate and influence; and (4) the

    process enters into relatively simple causal relationships

    (Barsalou,, 2010). Although nominalizing a process

    distorts it, advantages may result as well, warranting the

    simplification. Nominalized processes may be relatively

    easy to learn, store, and retrieve; they may be relatively

    easy to communicate; they may be well suited to various

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    types of reasoning. Because nominalized representations are

    relatively simple, compact, and stable, they are efficient

    cognitive units (Barsalou,, 2010).

    While Jose Carillo (

    agrees that nominalization sometimes causes such nouns as

    those ending in ion make English so dense its sheer

    torture to read, he concedes that nominalization isnt

    always bad for the health of English prose (Carillo,

    2011). In fact, he enlists five semantic situations where

    nominalizations can actually prove useful:

    1.Nominalization to make abstract things more concreteand credible. This is actually what many academics and

    bureaucrats do to their prosebut to great excess. If

    done sparingly and with restraint, however, this form

    of nominalization can actually make abstract

    statements more convincing.

    2.Nominalization as a transitional device. By serving asa subject referring to an idea in a previous sentence,

    a nominalization can provide smooth transition.

    3.Nominalization to attenuate extremely harsh orforceful statements. In making extremely sensitive

    statements, it is often prudent to use a

    nominalization instead of its more direct and vigorous

    verb form.

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    4.Nominalization to more clearly identify the object ofits verb-form. For stronger emphasis, it is sometimes

    desirable to use a nominalization to clearly identify

    the object of the verb in the sentence.

    5.Nominalization to replace awkward the fact thatphrases. When making a transition to the next

    sentence, the easy but lazy way is to use the phrase

    the fact that Nominalization of that phrase results

    in a better sounding sentence and a more elegant

    transition. (Carillo, 2011)

    Carillo then concludes that since nominalization isnt

    all that bad for the prose, there should be no hesitation

    in using it when it is called for (Carillo, 2011).

    Although Joe Cheal, as mentioned earlier in this

    paper, stated some disadvantages of nominalization, he also

    listed some advantages in using it. According to him, it

    appears that part of the human condition is the need to

    nominalize, to capture processes, and convert them into

    things (Cheal, 2008). The following are the reasons why

    nominalization is also important:

    Convenient way to capture and label a process,thereby giving the conscious mind a grasp of reality

    by providing points of reference.

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    It is an umbrella term to cover a range ofexperiences.

    Creates a trans-derivational search which is usefulfor trance work and artful vagueness. (Cheal, 2008)

    South Australias Department of Education and

    Childrens Studies


    point....) also noted some reasons in the use of

    nominalizations. One is that it helps to achieve a higher

    degree of abstraction and technicality. Another is that

    nominalization is significant in constructing a distant and

    abstract world that can be reflected on. Lastly,

    nominalization is one of the language choices that enables

    movement towards highly written texts



    In conclusion, it is still safe to say that the use of

    nominalizations has certain advantages in making prose

    better and easier to understand, as long as it isnt

    overused and abused.

    Related Studies

    Some related studies, mostly descriptive, have been

    done on the topic of nominalization.

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    A paper by Maria Lapata (2002) discusses the

    disambiguation of nominalization. She notes that any

    attempt to automatically interpret nominalizations needs to

    take into account the following: (a) the selectional

    constraints imposed by the nominalization compound head;

    (b) the fact that the relation of the modifier and the head

    noun can be ambiguous; and (c) the fact that these

    constraints can be easily overridden by contextual or

    pragmatic forms (Lapata, 2002). Moreover, the

    interpretation of nominalizations poses a further challenge

    for probabilistic approaches, since the argument relations

    between a head and its modifier are not readily available

    in the corpus (Lapata, 2002). Thus, treating the

    interpretation task as a disambiguation problem, she re-

    created the missing distributional evidence by exploiting

    partial parsing, smoothing techniques, and contextual


    First, Lapata selected a random sample of 1, 277

    tokens, which were manually inspected and found out to have

    796 nominalizations. Out of these, 596 were used as

    training data for finding the optimal parameters and the

    remaining 200 as test data. These were given to two

    graduate students who served as judges to decide whether

    modifiers are subject or object of a given nominalized

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    head. Given a page of guidelines but no training, they

    were given the corpus sentence in which the nominalization

    occurred together with the previous and following sentence.

    Comparing the smoothing variants, they found out that verb-

    argument pairs with low-frequency verbs introduce noise due

    to the errors inherent in the partial parser. They then

    proceeded to study the influence of context on the

    interpretation task, and explored the contribution of

    context alone and in combination with the different

    smoothing variants. These were combined using Ripper

    (Cohen, 1996), a system that induces classification rules

    from a set of pre-classified examples. The experiments

    revealed that data sparseness can be overcome by taking

    advantage of smoothing methods and surface contextual

    information (Lapata, 2002).

    Friederike Moltmann (2006) in his paper argues that

    there is a fourth kind of nominalization which requires a

    quite different treatment. While standard views in the

    semantics of nominalizations are that they map mere

    meanings into objects, that they refer to their implicit

    arguments, and that they introduce new objects, the fourth,

    Moltmann says, introduce new objects, but only partially

    characterize them (Moltmann, 2006). Such nominalizations

    generally refer to events or tropes (properties). This

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    fourth kind does not refer at all; rather, the process of

    nominalization would go along with rules for forming true

    or false sentences with the nominalization on the basis of

    true or false sentences involving the relevant base

    expression. Moltmann (2006) then proceeds to compare trope

    (adjectival) and event (verbal) nominalizations, stating

    the only way of connecting the semantics of event or trope

    nominalizations to that of the base expressions is on the

    basis of the notion of the truth maker (Moltmann, 2006).

    He concludes that by incorporating truth makers into

    semantic structure, there are possibilities of a

    compositional analysis of sentences involving truth makers

    (Moltmann, 2006), thereby making nominalizations easy to


    Solveiga Suinskien (2010) discusses in her study

    nominalization as a cohesive device in British newspaper

    editorials. She notes that the main purpose of editorials

    is to contribute to the molding of public opinion on

    current affairs and as such, they ought to have an

    argumentative structure; thus, they need linguistic means

    to serve the factual evidence in as convincing way as

    possible (Suinskien, 2010). Nominalization, as a text

    cohesive device of newspaper language, is used for

    embedding as much information into a few words as possible.

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    To manipulate the reader, the central actions are often

    expressed in nominal form thus omitting the actor and

    leaving the reader in doubt (Suinskien, 2010).

    Employing textual analysis, Suinskien collected

    samples of editorials published from January 1, 2009 to

    December 1, 2009, from different social stratification of

    English newspapers: the up-market (aimed at the upper

    middle-class readers), mid-market (aimed at lower middle-

    class and skilled working-class readers), and down-market

    (aimed at working class readers). The titles were first

    randomly selected and then nominalizations used in the

    corpus to be investigated were chosen.

    The findings showed that since editorials are composed

    under rather strict space constraints, nominalization

    allows a notion which is verbal in origin to be inserted

    into an idea unit like it is a noun (Suinskien, 2010).

    Consequently, she adds, most nominalizations can be re-

    written as a phrase or clause. Nominalizations also

    depersonalize the agent. The nominalizing of verbs

    disconnects the participant from the action that they

    performed by condensing that transitive relationship from

    the clause into a single, general noun (Suinskien, 2010).

    In conclusion, Suinskien states that the high

    frequency of nominalizations in editorials is due to lack

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    of space or even may be of time. The style of writing

    editorials needs a certain device for talking about

    abstract ideas. The precise lexical choice is a measure of

    information density (Suinskien, 2010).

    In an attempt to convince the readers that

    nominalization is a most powerful device in English, Gao

    Wenyan (2012) made a comparative study in nominalization in

    medical paperd. Gao first asserts that medical writings are

    generally standardized in language and concentrated on

    highly technical terms but can be difficult to understand

    due to its many forms and complexity. He suggests that

    nominalization plays a crucial role in building the logical

    structure of medical English papers and improving its


    For the study, Gao obtained 10 Discussion Sections of

    medical papers, and employed an analysis involving 3 steps:

    (1) identifying the frequency of nominalization; (2)

    comparing the lexical density; and (3) analyzing thematic

    progression which contributes to the textual cohesion. The

    results of his study implied that there are two essential

    directions. One is that the results could serve as a

    starting point for courses on genre analysis of medical

    papers with special emphasis on their grammatical metaphor

    in the form of nominalization which enhances the features

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    of scientific precision, conciseness and objectivity.

    Second, an understanding of the functional role and textual

    consequences of grammatical metaphor is essential for a

    full understanding of the meaning of any text (Gao, 2012).

    Janelle Cameron (2011) published a thesis on teaching

    nominalization to secondary ELD teachers. She states that

    nominalization can be a powerful skill for language

    learning students to acquire as they attempt to comprehend

    content area texts at the secondary level (Cameron, 2011).

    A commonly held belief is that language learners only need

    language instruction through the intermediate level and are

    then ready for full participation in mainstream courses;

    however, teachers and administrators are often unaware of

    the linguistic demands of academic text and also the

    language proficiency requirements of content area

    classrooms (Cameron, 2011). Rather than being thrust into

    mainstream classrooms once intermediate level proficiency

    is obtained, English language learners require advanced

    language instruction specific to the academic content they

    study. Knowing the particular linguistic demands of a

    content area at the secondary level sets up the first

    pedagogical challenge, while knowing how to instruct those

    linguistic demands poses the next challenge for teachers

    (Cameron, 2011).

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    Selecting a focus group of teachers and students,

    Cameron demonstrated the relevance of nominalizations by

    recording the number of nominalizations found in randomly

    selected passages from the 7th and 8th grade mandated history

    curriculum. The findings showed that 38% of the sentence

    subjects in the selected text and 85% of all headings were

    nominalizations, proving the significance of recognizing

    and understanding nominalizations within the text. Thus,

    quoting Schleppegrell (2004), Cameron argues that a lack of

    understanding of these nominalizations limits students

    comprehension of the entire text (Cameron, 2011), proving

    its importance. Even more surprising was that, the teachers

    themselves do not recognize nominalizations, nor know how

    to teach them, thus the need to instruct them first on how

    to instruct it to students (Cameron, 2011).

    With these intitial findings, Cameron proceeds to

    assess the teacher-participants, then conducted training

    sessions on nominalizations. The implications became clear:

    if correlation between student comprehension and use of

    nominalization could be shown, many more teachers might be

    interested enough in the concept to learn what

    nominalization is and how to teach it (Cameron, 2011).

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    Local Studies

    While there are no studies on nominalization in

    English conducted locally, there are several studies on

    Filipino, particularly Tagalog, language, its

    nominalization and structure as compared to English

    conducted by foreign researchers. It is worth to note that

    these studies are somehow connected to the topic at hand.

    Daniel Kaufman (2008) in particular presented a study

    on exclamatives and temporal nominalizations in

    Austronesian, touching particularly on Tagalog. In his

    paper, Kaufman examines two functions of nominalization,

    exclamatives and temporal adjuncts, as they are attested

    commonly throughout Austronesian languages (Kaufman, 2008).

    The question of identifying nouns and verbs in

    morphologically conservative Austronesian languages

    naturally looms large in any discussion of nominalization.

    In particular, Philippine verbs have been argued to possess

    many nominal properties, which in turn has been argued to

    be the result of older reanalysis of nominal categories

    into verbal ones (Kaufman,2008). For example, in the

    following sentences, (a) employs the patient voice which

    corresponds with genitive case on the agent and nominative

    case on the patient, while (b) employs the actor voice

    (Kaufman, 2008):

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    (a) S(in)unog ni Malaya ang bandila.Malaya burnt the flag. (lit. The flag was Malayas

    burnt thing.)

    (b) Nag-sunog si Malaya ng bandila.Malaya burnt a flag. (lit. Malaya was the burner of

    the flag.)

    Nominals, although by no means requiring

    presuppositionality, have been argued to inherently possess

    referential properties either by virtue of their lexical

    category or due to their proto-typical functions in

    discourse. Thus, Kaufman concludes, they are thus uniquely

    suited for anaphoric functions. Following this line of

    thought, it can now be explained why Philippine nominals

    are interpreted specifically as when-clauses rather than

    hypotheticals (i.e., if-clauses) or as indicating

    simultaneous action (i.e. as-clauses) (Kaufman, 2008).

    Matthias Gerner (2011) published a study on the

    typology of nominalization in Asian languages. In

    particular, he states that in Tagalog, action

    nominalization is realized by partial prothetic

    reduplication of the verbal stem. For example (Gerner,


    mag-huli pag-huhuli

    catch (to catch) catch (catching)

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    In conclusion, Gerner states that an extended typology

    will yield empirically testable hypotheses about the

    connection between the nominalizations and other variables,

    and that nominalizers also make way for new functions and