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VILNIUS PEDAGOGICAL UNIVERSITY

FACULTY OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES


DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH PHILOLOGY

SALOMĖJA ŠATIENĖ

SEMANTIC AND SYNTACTIC FUNCTIONS OF DEVERBAL ABSTRACT


NOUNS IN ENGLISH
Thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements for a degree of MA in English
Philology

Academic adviser: Prof. Ph.D. L.Valeika

Vilnius, 2005
CONTENTS

Abstract………………………………………………………………………………….2
Introduction……………………………………………………………………………...3
1. Realization of semantic and syntactic functions in the clause………………………..6
1.1. Deverbal abstract nouns as non-congruent representation of processes…….6
1.2. Participant and circumstantial functions in the clause……………………11
1.3. Syntactic realization of semantic functions………………………………..19
2. Semantic and syntactic functions of deverbal abstract nouns…………………...…..26
2.1. Semantic functions of deverbal abstract nouns……………………………27
2.1.1. Inherent participant functions…………………………………....27
2.1.1.1. Participant functions in material processes……………………27
2.1.1.2. Participant functions in mental processes……………………...31
2.1.1.3. Participant functions in verbal processes………………………32
2.1.1.4. Participant functions in relational processes………………..…33
2.1.1.5. Participants in existential processes…………………………...37
2.1.1.6. The Range function……………………………………………38
2.1.2. Non-inherent participant functions……………………………....39
2.1.3.Circumstantial functions of deverbal abstract nouns…………….40
2.2. Syntactic functions of deverbal abstract nouns……………………………49
2.2.1. Syntactic functions of inherent participants……………………..49
2.2.2. Syntactic functions of non-inherent participants………………...54
2.2.3. Adverbial functions of deverbal abstract nouns…………………55
2.2.4. Modifier function of deverbal abstract nouns……………………55
2.2.5. Referential function of deverbal abstract nouns ………………...55
Conclusions…………………………………………………………………………….57
Summary in Lithuanian………………………………………………………………...58
References……………………………………………………………………………...59

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ABSTRACT

The present paper is an attempt to examine the functional potential of deverbal


abstract nouns in the clause. The verbal to nominal transfer has long been recognized as
an important phenomenon in English. However, the peculiarities of usage of deverbal
abstract nouns as well as their potential for expressing a range of semantic and syntactic
functions have been little analysed in linguistic literature. The paper examines the
concept of deverbal abstract nouns as non-congruent representation of processes,
provides an overview of semantic and syntactic functions in the clause, and presents a
detailed inventory of the range of semantic functions expressed by deverbal abstract
nouns and their syntactic realization in the clause based on the linguistic evidence drawn
from the corpus under investigation. The research was based on the semantic approach
for interpreting the clause as representation of a process suggested by systemic
functional linguistics.
The examination of the scientific discourse text determined that deverbal
abstract nouns were used in clauses of all types of processes, the most frequent being
material and relational types; the semantic potential of deverbal abstract nouns was not
limited to specific semantic functions as they were used to perform a full range of
semantic functions in the clause; the most frequent semantic roles expressed by deverbal
abstract nouns were those of the Circumstance, the Carrier and the Affected; the
syntactic potential of deverbal abstract nouns was not limited to certain syntactic
functions; the most frequent syntactic functions expressed by deverbal abstract nouns
were those of Subject, Adverbial (as part of prepositional noun phrase) and Direct
Object; the modifier function was one of the most characteristic syntactic functions of
deverbal abstract nouns in the clause; the instances of the referential function of
deverbal abstract nouns substituting for the verb phrase denoting the process in the
preceding text were rare.

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INTRODUCTION
Systemic functional linguistics suggests a semantic approach for interpreting the
clause or the simple sentence as representation of a process. The linguist credited with
having developed the theory of a universal semantic base of languages is Fillmore
(1968) whose model known as Case Grammar was a reaction against the traditional
theory of sentence analysis. Fillmore (1968: 24) pointed out that the case relationships
in a sentence comprise ‘a set of universal, presumably innate, concepts which identify
certain types of judgements human beings are capable of making about the events that
are going on around them, judgements about such matters as who did it, who it
happened to, and what got changed.’ (as referred to by James 1982:55)
Different aspects of the theory have been analysed by Cruse (1972), Leech
(1969), Lyons (1968, 1977), McCawley (1968, 1988), Halliday (1985), Downing and
Locke (1992) and others (as referred to by Valeika, 1998:8).
Typically the process is realized by a verbal group, the participant functions are realized
by nouns and circumstances are realized by an adverbial group or prepositional phrase.
However, as pointed out by Lyons (1977:498), all languages may well provide the
means for the various ways in which a situation can be described in other than the most
neutral way. Making use of the process of nominalization, it is possible to categorize a
situation in an alternative way and represent processes by nouns. Such form of processes
encoded as deverbal nouns in the view of semantic functional linguistics is considered
non-congruent and is called grammatical metaphor.
The verbal to nominal transfer is the most prototypical form of grammatical metaphor,
and, although there is a range of other types, it has long been recognized as an important
phenomenon in English (cf. Jespersen 1933; Govers 1954; Halliday 1967; Quirk and
Greenbaum 1973 as referred to by Ravelli (2003:38). The concept of grammatical
metaphor has been introduced in Halliday’s Introduction to Functional Grammar (1985,
1994) and further developed by such linguists as Ravelli (1988, 2003), Martin (1998),
Traverniers (2003) and others.
However, the peculiarities of usage of abstract nouns as well as their potential to
express a range of semantic and syntactic functions have been little analysed in
linguistic literature. The present study concentrates on the functional potential of
deverbal abstract nouns in the clause. Due to the restricted scope, the present study
presents only a general analysis of the possibilities for using deverbal abstract nouns to
express semantic and syntactic functions in the clause.

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The aim of the present study
The aim of the present study is to establish the potential of abstract nouns to
express semantic and syntactic functions in the clause.
The Objectives of the Present Study
1. To make a detailed inventory of the range of semantic functions which can be
expressed by deverbal abstract nouns;
2. To establish the syntactic realization of semantic functions which are expressed
by deverbal abstract nouns;
3. To analyse the results of the relative frequency of occurrence of abstract nouns
in scientific discourse.
The research method
To achieve the best results, the descriptive – inductive and quantitative methods
were used in the present research.
The evidence was drawn from a scientific discourse text, The Oxford history of
Britain, edited by Kenneth Morgan. The scientific discourse text was chosen taking into
consideration the fact that scientific discourse is much more concerned with abstract
concepts than the other registers. (Biber D. et.al. 2000: 322)
The novelty of the study
The novelty of the study lies in the analysis of the semantic functions vs. the
syntactic functions of the nominalization.
The Theoretical and Practical Value of the Present Study
1. It contributes to the development of the general theory of semantic and syntactic
functions.
2. Its findings can be used for comparative analysis of semantic and syntactic
structure of the clause with regard to the functional potential of deverbal abstract
nouns of English and of another language such as Lithuanian.
The Structure of the Thesis
The Thesis consists of an introduction, two parts, conclusions and a list of
references.
The introduction defines the field of the present study and indicates its
objectives. It also describes the method of the data analysis and argues the relevance of
the study.
The body of the thesis consists of two parts: ‘Semantic and syntactic functions in
the clause’ and ‘Semantic and syntactic functions of deverbal abstract nouns’. Prior to

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the analysis of the functional potential of deverbal abstract nouns, the paper examines
the concept of deverbal abstract nouns as non-congruent representation of processes and
provides an overview of semantic and syntactic functions in the clause. The second part
of the paper is devoted to the analysis of the semantic and syntactic functions of
deverbal abstract nouns based on the evidence drawn from the corpus under
investigation.
The conclusions are presented in a separate chapter.

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1. REALIZATION OF SEMANTIC AND SYNTACTIC FUNCTIONS IN THE
CLAUSE

1.1. Deverbal abstract nouns as non-congruent representation of processes

From a semantic point of view, each simple sentence can be regarded as made
up of a verb (a process) and a collection of nouns in various ‘cases’ in the deep structure
sense. Thus the meaning of a sentence as conceptualisation of reality is revealed through
its semantic structure. The semantic structure of a situation consists of components
performing particular semantic functions: process, participants, attributes and
circumstances. In the surface structure of the sentence, semantic functions are realized
grammatically by members of word classes.
As proposed by Halliday (1994:343), there are three steps involved in semantic
analysis:
(i) selection of process type: material, mental, verbal, relational, existential realized as
(ii) configuration of transitivity functions: Actor, Goal, Senser etc. representing the
process, its participants, and any circumstantial elements; realized in turn as
(iii) sequence of group-phrase classes: verbal group, nominal group, adverbial group,
prepositional phrase.
To cite Halliday (1994:343), ‘when we use such a framework, as a way of
getting from the meaning to the wording, we make the assumption that there are typical
ways of saying things; that there is a systematic relationship among steps such that for
any selection of meaning there will be a natural sequence of steps leading towards its
realization'.
However, it is possible to categorize a situation in an alternative way and
represent processes by nouns, as in the following example:
(1) Their response to James I’s accession, the Millenary Petition, called only for
modifications within the existing framework. (I:391)
In the above example the head noun representing the process is related to the verb which
represented the process in the original sentence: Respond vs. response; access vs.
accession; modify vs. modification.
To quote Matthiessen (1995:356), ‘The semantic process is represented
congruently as the Process in the transitivity structure of the clause: but through

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grammatical metaphor it may be nominalized and represented as if it were a participant
or circumstance, possibly together with other elements of clause structure<…>’
Ravelli (2003: 47) provides the most explicit definitions of grammatical
metaphor at the heart of which are the following: ‘one choice in the semantics may have
two (or more) lexicogrammatical realizations’ and ‘grammatical metaphor is an
alternative lexicogrammatical realization of a semantic choice’.
The concept of realization, and especially the interstratal coding relationship
between semantics and lexicogrammar play an important role in the recognition and
understanding of grammatical metaphor as a specific phenomenon of language, as noted
by Miriam Taverniers (2003: 28). A metaphorical expression is a meaningful choice, an
option which has been selected in contrast to more congruent realizations. The choice is
based on the potential of expression, which is offered by grammatical metaphor, i.e.
construing processes as nominal groups makes it possible for two process meanings to
be linked to each other within a clause; this type of incongruent construal leads to a
higher lexical density and a lower grammatical intricacy.
The form of grammatical metaphor which has received the most attention is the
nominalization of processes. Halliday (1994: 352) points out that nominalizing is the
single most powerful resource for creating grammatical metaphor. By this device,
processes (congruently worded as verbs) and properties (congruently worded as
adjectives) are reworded metaphorically as nouns; instead of functioning in the clause,
as Process or Attribute, they function as Thing in the nominal group. Thus
Is impaired by alcohol alcohol impairment
They allocate an extra packer the allocation of an extra
packer
They were able to reach the computer their access to the computer
Technology is getting better advances in technology
What then happens to the original ‘things'? They get displaced by the metaphoric
ones, and so are reduced to modifying these: alcohol becomes a Classifier of
impairment; the computer, one extra packer and technology go into prepositional
phrases functioning as Qualifier to, respectively, access, allocation and advances.
Halliday (1994: 353) points out the fact that when clausal patterns are replaced
by nominal ones, some of the information is lost: for example, the Classifier + Thing
construction alcohol impairment gives no indication of the semantic relation between
the two and could be agnate to alcohol impairs (alcohol as Actor) or alcohol is impaired

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(alcohol as Patient). A significant feature from our present-day world is that it consists
so largely of metaphorically constructed entities, like access, advances, allocation,
impairment and appeal.
Fawcett (1980), as referred to by Miriam Taverniers (2003: 19), proposed a
general ‘congruence network’, the entry condition of which is the input to linguistic
processing in general, termed the ‘referent’. The referent may be regarded as situation,
as thing or as quality. For the option referent regarded as situation, three further
possibilities are available, of which one is congruent (termed ‘straightforward’), as
realized in, for example Ivy quickly refused his offer. Other types of construal of the
same referent regarded as situation, are (1) a construal as ‘possessed’ situation (gerund),
as in Ivy’s quickly refusing his offer, and (2) a construal as quasi-thing (nominalization
or mixed nominal), as in Ivy’s quick refusing of his offer. Regarded as thing, the
referent may be realized in the straightforward mode as a nominal in Ivy’s refusal. Thus
the clause Ivy quickly refused his offer shows render the following selections of
realization respectively:
Ivy’s quickly refusing his offer: referent > regarded as ‘possessed’ situation > gerund
Ivy’s quick refusing of his offer: referent > regarded as situation > as quasi-thing
Ivy’s refusal: referent > regarded as thing > straightforward
Miriam Taverniers (2003: 24) notes Ravelli’s idea that because the ‘congruence
network’ is based in Facett’s general cognitive-functional theory of language, this
network represents ‘the speaker’s knowledge of the world’ rather than observable
systems of semiotics which provide the ‘context for language’ in a systemic-functional
theory. A systemic-functional representation of grammatical metaphor has to take into
account a ‘semantic’ and lexicogrammatical level. Ravelli offers an initial schematic
representation which is reproduced here as Figure 1.
semantics
process - Process
‘process’ →[
participant – Thing
lexicogrammar
…Process verbal group
and
…Thing nominal group

Figure 1: Levels in a network representation of grammatical metaphor (from Ravelli


1999)

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Ravelli (1988:141) proposes two devices which can be useful in the analysis of
metaphorical realization of processes as deverbal nouns: derivation and agnation.
Derivation is the major tool of turning processes into things denoted by deverbal nouns.
Agnation is the term used to denote the relation between a nominalized structure and its
non-nominal counterpart. The use of agnation in the metaphorical analysis of
nominalizations allows us to fully understand the meaning of the metaphorical
expression by comparing it to the agnate form corresponding to its congruent
realization.
Heyvaert (2003:66) notes that a closer look at how exactly agnation is used in
the metaphorical analysis of nominalizations reveals the following tendencies: to start
with, much emphasis is put on finding one construction that can be considered as the
congruent agnate of the nominalization and that is itself a good English structure, e.g.:
(1) her sailing out of the room/she sailed out of the room
(Ravelli 1988:134)
(2) the writing of business programs/people can write business programs
(Halliday 1994:349)
(3) the cast’s brilliant acting/the cast acted brilliantly
(Halliday and Matthiessen 1999:244)
As noted by Heyvaert (2003:70), each deverbal nominalization can be related to
one congruent agnate.
As pointed out by Lyons (1977:498), non-kernel structures make use of the
process of nominalization to create second-order nominals and then fit these expressions
into equative or predicative structures of the kind that contain first-order nominals in the
participant-roles in kernel sentences. The valency-schemata may be said to reflect the
most basic and most neutral way of conceptualizing and describing a situation.
As Lyons puts it:
The acquisition of the grammatical and lexical structure of a language would appear to
be part of a developmental process in which successively more abstract structures are built upon
the basis of more concrete structures. In the course of this process, syntactic patterns that are
originally used for a more restricted set of situations will serve as templates, as it were, for the
description of a progressively wider set. Their extension to this wider set, however, will not
necessarily proceed on the basis of the same analogies in all languages. There are several ways in

which situations may be categorized.’ (Lyons 1977:499)

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David Banks (2003:129) points out that there are a number of options available
in the language creating nominalized forms of processes, though not all options are
necessarily available for an individual verb. These options fall into three basic types:
- those which are morphologically identical with the agnate verb (e.g. haul,
estimate, change),
- those which have no agnate verb, but which nevertheless indicate process (e.g.
trade, occasion), and
- those which have an agnate verb, but are not morphologically identical. This
includes the use of suffixes, of which –ing (e.g. tracking, reading), and –ion (e.g.
identification detection), are the most common, but there are also examples of – ment
(e.g. measurement, movement), -ance/-ence (e.g. avoidance, preference), and –ure (e.g.
procedure), as well as those which have no specific suffix (e.g. growth, analysis).
The list of suffixes added to verbs to form abstract nouns, provided by Quirk et.al.
(1973: 999-1000) also includes the following suffixes:
-al refusal, revival, dismissal (action)
-age coverage, shrinkage, wastage (extent, amount)
-y discovery (action)
David Banks (2003:141) points out that it is to be expected that nominalizations
of processes function as heads in noun groups, and to a large extent this is true. In the
more recent texts, however, it is noticeable that a considerable number function as
modifiers within the noun groups. The extension of the use of nominalized processes to
the function of modifier in the noun group is a significant development, and one that has
taken place in the course of the twentieth century.
The distribution of derived nouns, as of nouns in general, varies greatly across
the registers. The derivational suffixes are most productive by far in academic prose
than in the other registers, and they are far more common. This tendency can be
accounted for by the fact that suffixes more often encapsulate a meaning that would be
longer and clumsier to convey in another way, as attested by the complexity of their
meanings and their predominant class changing nature. As pointed out by Biber et.al.
(2000: 322), derived abstract nouns are essential in academic discussions, where
frequent reference is made to abstract concepts and where actions and processes are
often referred to in general terms rather in relation to a specific place and time. For such
reference it is convenient to use nominalizations, where the content of a clause is
compressed into a noun phrase.

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As noted by Sušinskienė (2004:74), when the process is nominalized, we can
express more than one situation using the simple sentence model. The compression of
meaning resulting from it makes this type of construction desirable for scientific
discourse.
As for the deverbal abtract nouns as the result of nominalization, Liesbet
Heyvaert (2003:85) points out that the existing literature fails, however, to bridge the
gap between the overall, factive meaning of the nominal and the internal organization of
its component parts.

1.2. Participant and circumstantial functions in the clause

As already mentioned, the semantic structure of the sentence consists of the


process, the participants in the process, the attributes ascribed to the participants and the
circumstances associated with the process. The type of the Process, expressed by the
verb, determines the number of participants and their semantic roles.
However, analysis of participant roles has not achieved a general consensus, nor
has it fully explored all distinctions.
As referred to by Radford (1995:372), in numerous works beginning with
Gruber (1965), Fillmore (1968) and Jackendoff (1972), it has been argued that each
Argument (i.e. Subject or Complement) of a Predicate bears a particular thematic
(another term for semantic) role, and that the set of thematic functions which Arguments
can fulfil are drawn from a highly restricted, finite, universal set. The precise set of
thematic functions assumed to constitute primitive elements of the associated Theory of
Thematic structure (or Theta Theory) varies somewhat from author to author. Radford
(1995:373) presents the most commonly assumed theta-roles: Theme (or Patient), Agent
(or Actor), Experiencer, Benefactive, Instrument, Locative, Goal and Source.
As pointed out by Halliday (1994:112), the functions assumed by the
participants in any clause are determined by the type of process that is involved.
Material processes are actions carried out by a participant called Agent, i.e. the
wilful initiator of the action. Another term for Agent is Actor, the term suggested by
Halliday. The agentive participant is an animate being instigating or causing the
happening denoted by the verb. The question if inanimate nouns can perform the
function of the agent is a controversial one. Most linguists would agree that the
agentive/non agentive distinction is relevant only for animate nouns. According to Cruse

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(1973 as referred to by Valeika 1998:29), agentivity should include the following
features: volition, effectiveness (or causation), initiative and force. In typical instances,
all these features will be present. In non-typical instances, one or more of these features
may be absent. Such being the case, some linguists introduce the function of External
causer which expresses the unwitting (generally inanimate) cause of an event also
termed ‘force’ (Quirk, Greenbaum et.al. 1995:745). Fillmore (as referred to by Valeika
1998:21) classifies all inanimate doers as Instrumentals. For him the wind in the wind
opened the door is Instrumental. Halliday (1994:115) points out that in a material
process no participant is required to be human, and the distinction between conscious
and non-conscious beings plays no part, as we can see from the analysis of the following
examples:
the roof blew off (roof Actor)
your muscles will develop (muscles Actor)
the search is continuing (search Actor) (Halliday, 1994:174-175)
To sum up, in semantic syntax the concept of the Agent still remains
problematic, since in the linguistic literature there are different interpretations of the
nature of the entity denoted by this function.
The term of the Affected in material processes is applied to the participant which
is affected by the action denoted by the verb. Other terms which have been used for this
function are GOAL, OBJECTIVE, THEME and PATIENT. To cite Halliday
(1994:109), the term Goal implies ‘directed at’ and Patient means one that ‘suffers’ or
‘undergoes’ the process.
I don’t drink coffee (Goal)
This file got left behind by mistake (Goal) (Halliday, 1994:175).
However, there are some problems related to the Agent/Affected distinction. As
pointed by Halliday (1994:111), as the process becomes more abstract, so the distinction
between Actor (Agent) and Goal (Affected) becomes harder to draw, whereas ‘with a
concrete process it is usually clear which role a given participant is playing’. However,
he also notes that there are some concrete processes where the Actor (Agent) is
involuntary, and thus in some respects like a Goal (Affected). He also observes that
‘with more abstract processes we often find active and passive forms side by side with
very little difference between them’, for example:
A new approach is evolving/ is being evolved (Halliday, 1994:111).

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With the passive form there is the possibility for asking a probe question who
by? whereas with the active form participants lend themselves to different
interpretations of their functions.
The Effected participant in a material process denotes an object which is the
result of the action of the verb. Another term is Resulting Object. Halliday (1985:104)
calls this process ‘creative’ and the participant that results from the creative process in
his analysis is still called Goal as is the Patient (Affected).
You will develop good breathing (Halliday, 1994:175).
As for the nature of the entities denoted by the Effected, they are generally
expected to be objects. However, ideas and processes can also be the results of creative
processes, and therefore the grammatical category used to realize the function of the
Effected should not be limited to concrete nouns.
The Recipient is the participant to whom the action is directed and who receives the
‘goods’. The Recipient function is characteristic of material and verbal processes and
occasionally of relational ones.
Most typically the Recipient is human but it can also denote an abstract entity as
loyalty in loyalty is owed some recognition (Halliday, 1994:145). Therefore deverbal
abstract nouns are likely to be used for the realization of this function.
Mental processes are processes expressed by mental verbs. In a mental process
sentence, the set of possible participants is less restricted than in a material process
sentence. In mental processes participants may be not only ‘things’ but also ‘facts’.
(Valeika 1998: 49).
In the linguistic literature the participant in the clause who perceives, thinks or
feels is generally referred to as the Experiencer or Senser. Therefore this function
embodies a human-like participant – a human, an animal or a personified inanimate
entity.
To quote Halliday (1994:114), ‘any object, animate or not, can be treated as
conscious; and since mental process clauses have this property, that only something that
is being credited with consciousness can function in them as the one who feels, thinks or
perceives, one only has to put something into that role in order to turn it into a conscious
being’. Simply putting the object in the environment of mental process, we cause it to be
understood as endowed with consciousness.
The other participant in a mental process is referred to as the Phenomenon and
denotes the entity or the fact which is perceived, thought or felt. In Halliday’s analysis

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of the sentence It hurts my ears where it stands for the Phenomenon and my ears stands
for the Experiencer.
To sum up, abstract entities are likely to occur as the Phenomenon in the mental
process whereas the role of the Experiencer is typically played by either a human-like
being or an object endowed with consciousness and therefore unlikely to be realized by
an abstract noun denoting a process.
Verbal processes are processes of saying or communicating. The participant
which/who conveys information is called the Sayer. Halliday (1994:140) observes, that
unlike mental processes, verbal processes do not require a conscious participant, i.e. the
Sayer can be anything that puts out a signal. The other inherent participant functions
related to verbal processes is the Verbiage.
The Verbiage represents either the content of what is said or the name of the
saying. Therefore the Verbiage function should not be limited to concrete entities.
Relational processes express the notion of being, becoming or remaining
something or somewhere. The inherent participant in a relational process is called the
Carrier. The function of the process is to relate the Carrier to its Attribute. The function
of the Attribute is to characterize the Carrier or through the properties to identify it.
Therefore, we can distinguish two subtypes of role for the attribute: identification and
characterization. In the possessive process the relationship between the elements is that
of possession or ownership. The semantic structure of circumstantial processes includes
Circumstance as an inherent element to the process.
In terms of the entity denoted, the Carrier can be both human and non-human.
The Attribute in both attributive and possessive processes can be either a concrete or
abstract entity. Therefore there should be no restrictions on these functions to be
realized by deverbal abstract nouns. We shall discuss the nature of circumstances in
what follows.
Existential processes are processes of being and occurrence. The single
participant is the Existent, which may be human and non-human, i.e. person, object, or
abstraction.
There is another term used for the participant, representing an abstraction or an
event – the Eventive. This term is also applied to the Carrier in relational circumstantial
sentences (Quirk at.al.1995:748). The noun at the head of the noun phrase in case of the
Eventive is commonly deverbal or a nominalization.

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The Range is the function that defines the range or scope of the process.
Semantically a Range element is not in any very obvious sense a participant in the
process, it might be considered on the borderline between participants and
circumstances. The Range function is characteristic of material, mental and verbal
processes. As noted by Halliday (1994:146), in material processes the Range either
expresses the process itself or its domain. In mental processes the Range is not an
additional element but an interpretation of the Phenomenon. It is the element which
indicates the limits of the perception, cognition or affectivity. In verbal processes the
Range refers to the Verbiage in terms of the content or nature of the verbal process. As
pointed out by Halliday (1994:148), it is not always easy to distinguish a Range from an
Affected. However, the ‘do to’ or ‘do with’ test can not be applied to the Range as
nothing can be ‘done to’ or ‘done with’ it.
So far we have analysed the participant functions inherent to particular
processes. Now we shall look at non-inherent participant functions: the Beneficiary and
the Instrumental.
Some linguists distinguish a Beneficiary role (‘intended recipient’) from the
Recipient role:
She made her son a scarf. (Quirk, Greenbaum et.al. 1995:741)
In our study we shall distinguish between the terms of the Recipient and
Beneficiary as denoting different semantic functions. Beneficiary is the optional
participant in the process for whom services are done.
As both the Beneficiary and the Circumstance of Behalf are grammatically
realised by prepositional phrases with for, it is difficult to distinguish between the two
functions. The non-prepositional test proposed by Halliday (1994:145) as in Fred
bought a present for his wife/bought his wife a present as opposed to I’m doing all this
for Mary where for Mary is a Circumstance of Behalf generally works only for concrete
entities and are hardly applicable to abstract ones.
The Instrumental is the entity (generally inanimate) which an agent uses to
perform an action or instigate a process:
A computer has solved the problem. (Quirk, Greenbaum et.al. 1995:743)
According to Halliday (1994:154), the Instrument is not a distinct category in
English grammar; it is simply a kind of means. So given ‘the pig was beaten with a
stick’, the corresponding active form is ‘she beat the pig with a stick’; in both, ‘with the
stick’ is a circumstantial expression of Manner.

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As noted by Valeika (1998:71), the Instrumental function can be performed by
nouns denoting tools and instruments, material or parts of the body. The nature of the
entity generally found in the examples provided in linguistic literature (Halliday (1985),
Valeika (1998), Biber et.al (2000), Quirk, Greenbaum et.al (1995) is also that of a
concrete object expressed by a concrete noun. The question whether abstract nouns
expressing a process can be used to realize the function of the Instrumental remains
unanswered.
Typically circumstantial elements occur in all types of process. There are
different systems of classification of circumstantial elements into types proposed in
linguistic literature. Downing and Locke (1992) proposed to divide circumstances into
spatial and non-spatial (Manner, Contingency, Comitative, Modality, Degree, Role,
Matter). In our analysis we shall use the terms of the types of circumstantial elements
proposed by Halliday (1994:151): Extent, Location, Manner, Cause, Contingency,
Accompaniment, Role, Matter and Angle.
Due to the limited scope of our study, we shall give a general overview of
circumstantial functions instead of analysing each type of circumstances in detail.
Although the examples of circumstantial functions provided in linguistic literature
(Halliday (1985), Valeika (1998), Biber et.al (2000), Quirk, Greenbaum et.al (1995)
generally exhibit instances of prepositional phrases with concrete nouns, there are no
restrictions mentioned as far as abstract entities are concerned. Therefore we can expect
deverbal abstract nouns to perform a range of circumstantial functions.
However, there are some problematic issues related to the distinction between
some circumstantial and participant functions in terms of abstract nouns. The most
controversial prove to be the functions of Goal and Source.
To quote Lyons (1977:496), ‘at first sight, there would appear to be a sharp
distinction between a situation in which one entity affects another entity and a situation
in which an entity moves to or from a place <…> there is therefore a natural connection
between agency, causation and the source of movement, on the one hand, and between
suffering the effect of an action and being the goal of movement, on the other hand. To
say that an entity is either the source or the goal of movement is to treat that entity as a
place. Goal is the entity towards which something moves’.
As both the Recipient and the Circumstance of Goal are grammatically realised
by prepositional phrases with to it is difficult to distinguish between the two functions.
Halliday (1994:145) suggests the non-prepositional test: to find out if a prepositional

17
phrase is Recipient or not, we should see if it could occur naturally without the
preposition. Thus in she sent her best wishes to John, to John is Recipient (she sent
John her best wishes); in she sent her luggage to Los Angeles, to Los Angeles is not
Recipient as we do not say she sent Los Angeles her best wishes. On the other hand, the
same is true of the entity denoting the ‘sender’, which could also be given different
interpretations as the Agent of the action or the Source, if expressed by a prepositional
phrase with from.
In the most controversial cases, a different analysis can be applied which allows
more than one role for one element and allows for the repetition of the same role in one
clause. In one such analysis, the Agent and the Source roles are combined:
John is the Agent in John sent the news to the President by telegram.
The President received the news from John by telegram. (John is both the Agent
and Source) (from Valeika, 1998:8).
Taking into consideration the fact that the above sentences describe the same
situation, the role of Source should also be attributed to John in the first sentence.
In another instance of analysis, the External causer and Affected roles can be
combined with the Agentive role. Here are examples of such analysis from Quirk,
Greenbaum et.al. (1995:745):
Hurricanes (External Causer) devastated the region (Affected).
Marauding bands (Agent/External Causer) devastated the region (Affected).
The soldiers (Agent/External Causer) paraded.
The warden (Agent/External Causer) paraded the prisoners (Agent/Affected).
Where two agentives co-occur in the same clause, the first has sometimes been
distinguished as the ‘initiator’ of the action.
We must point out that in the case of abstract entities the distinction between
roles becomes even more complicated.
Lyons (1977:495) distinguishes a set of nine ‘valency-roles’ of which Entity and
Place may be regarded as being unmarked, or neutral, in relation to the other six more
positive roles. Of these six, Agent and Patient are roles that are assumed by first-order
entities (typically persons); Cause and Effect are roles fulfilled by second-order entities;
and Source and Goal are roles fulfilled by places’.
However, as pointed out by Valeika (1998: 9), it should be observed that the
roles limit the kinds of noun (nominal expression) that can be used to express them. For
example, for someone or something to be Agent, they must be capable of acting on their

18
own volition, and since inanimate physical objects or abstract ideas normally cannot do
so, it is generally odd to use a nominal expression which refers to an inanimate object or
abstract idea as Agent, as in the sentences:
*The boulder/sincerity sent the news to the Congressman by telegram. (Valeika
1998: 9)
Semantic unacceptability of the above sentence is due to the violation of
selection restrictions, the concept introduced by Chomsky (1965; as referred to by
Valeika 1998:8), which also deals with limitations related to the meaning of the verb.
As noted by Radford (1995: 374), selection restrictions correlate with semantic
structure, in the sense that expressions which bear the same semantic relation to some
item will be subject to the same selection restrictions; whereas those which bear
different semantic roles to a given item will be subject to different selection restrictions.
In the light of this observation, it might be noted that the NP which is the Object of roll
in (1) seems to obey the same selection restrictions as the NP which is its Subject in (2):
cf.
John rolled the ball/the rock/*the theory/*sincerity down the hill.
The ball/the rock/*the theory/*sincerity rolled down the hill. (Radford 1995:
374)
The two NPs play the same semantic role, even though they have different
constituent structure status.
As pointed out by Radford (1995: 375), semantic functions enable us to capture
the similarity between different but related uses of the same item. However, the
converse is also true: namely, that by assuming that arguments play a semantic role in
sentences independent of their constituent structure status, we can account for the
differences between apparently similar (but unrelated) uses of the same item. For
example:
(1) The vase shattered the glass
(2) The vase shattered. (Radford, 1995: 375),
In both sentences, the NP, the vase, fulfils the same grammatical role – that of
the Subject of shattered. However, it plays two distinct thematic roles: the role of
Instrument in (1) and the role of Patient in (2). This difference of semantic status is
reflected in a difference of selectional restrictions: cf.
The vase/the noise/a hidden flaw shattered the glass
The vase/*the noise/*a hidden flaw shattered.

19
The task of syntax is to establish the set of rules that specify which combinations
of words constitute grammatical strings and which do not. The study of meaning is the
concern of the semantic level of linguistic analysis. However, the kind of message
conveyed depends also on syntactic structure.

1.3. Syntactic realization of semantic functions

Full understanding of a sentence and its message requires to combine both the
semantic and syntactic levels of analysis. Clause elements denote semantic roles in the
situation. The verb – or the copular verb in combination with a complement – is the
primary device for distinguishing the process types. The subject complement and the
object complement denote attributes of the subject and direct object respectively.
Adverbials denote such circumstances of the situation as time, place, the manner of
action, express the speaker’s evaluation of the situation, or provide logical connections
across clauses or sentences.
Usually there is no complete one-to-one correspondence between the surface
(syntactic) structure and the semantic structure of the same sentence, i.e. a situation
may have different syntactic realizations in surface structure. Cf.
John is writing a letter.
Subject Predicate Direct object
Agent Process Effected
A letter is being written by John.
Subject Predicate Prepositional object
Effected Process Agent
(after Valeika, 1998: 8)
The two sentences describe the same situation, i.e. have the same semantic
structure with the constituents performing different syntactic functions in the surface
structure.
The systemic functional approach to sentence analysis, as pointed out by
McCawley (1988), maintains that languages abound in combinatoric rules that relate
directly to the surface structure and have nothing to do with deep structure. The
transformations of a language specify how the various structures in a derivation may or
must differ from one another. The constitution of the surface structure depends on the
rules that call for various deep structure constituents to be manifested in surface

20
structure elsewhere than in their deep structure position or to be given no surface
manifestation at all. Transformations are ‘operations’ that ‘convert’ an ‘input’ into an
‘output’, the input to a transformation being ‘prior to’ or ‘more basic’ than ‘its output’
and which accordingly takes the deep structure to be ‘basic’ to the entire derivation.
Syntactic analysis is inseparable from the categorical analysis of its constituents.
There is not necessarily a one-to-one correspondence between syntactic functions and
categories; not only may the same category realize different functions, but the same
function may be realized by different categories. Two noun phrases may realize two
different functions in one and the same sentence. In the following examples (from Aarts,
1988:13-14) the noun phrase next week realizes four different functions:
(a) He leaves next week.
(b) Next week is the time to do it.
(c) Lets call next week period A.
(d) Suppose we give next week priority.
In the next two examples, on the other hand, the same function (that of direct
object) is realized by different categories, a noun phrase and a ‘rank shifted’ sentence
respectively:
(a) He understood the problem.
(b) He understood what I was talking about. (Aarts, 1988:13-14)
Although there is no one-to-one correspondence between categories and
syntactic functions, most categories have a typical function associated with them.
Typical functions of noun phrases are those of subject and direct object.
Five functional constituents can be distinguished in the clause:
Subject (S)
Verb (V)
Object (O) – direct object (Od)
- indirect object (Oi)
Complement (C) – subject complement (Cs)
- object complement (Co)
Adverbial (A) – subject-related (As)
- object related (Ao) (following Quirk et.al.1995: 723)
Of the clause elements other than the verb, the subject is the most important in
that it is the element that is most often present. Halliday (1994:144) observes that in
Modern English all participants can take on the Subject function. The most typical

21
semantic role of a subject in a clause that has a direct object is that of the Agent. (Quirk
et.al.1995: 741) The category of the Agent is much narrower: there are many more
Subjects that are not Agents.
The subject sometimes has the role of the inanimate External Causer of an event:
The avalanche destroyed several houses. (Quirk et.al.1995: 743)
It may also have the role of the Instrument:
Tactics can win you these games<…> (Biber et.al. 2000:124)
With many English intransitive verbs, the subject also frequently has the
Affected role elsewhere typical of the direct object as Jack in Jack fell down
(accidentally) or the pencil in The pencil was lying on the table. (Quirk et.al.1995: 743).
He has swum across although he knows that more than a dozen escapers have
drowned there in recent weeks. (Biber et.al. 2000:123)
The assignment of the Affected role to the subject of an intransitive verb seems
clearest when there is a corresponding transitive verb with which the same noun phrase
is a direct object in the Affected role:
I’m frying the fish. (Od as Affected) (1)
The fish is frying. (S as Affected) (1a)
We can also make (1) passive:
The fish is being fried. (S as affected) (1b) (after Quirk et.al.1995: 743)
Quirk et.al. (1995: 744) maintain that the boundary between Agentive and
Affected subjects depends on whether an element of causation or volition is present.
Some verbs allow both interpretations: Suddenly he jumped might suggest an
involuntary action (eg after being stung by a wasp) or a deliberate one. A purpose
adverbial (in order to attract attention) or a volitional adverbial (eg deleberately, on
purpose) can be added only to the agentive type. When an Instrument or External causer
is the Subject it acquires metaphorically some notion of agency: Guns kill; A car drove
by; The door refused to open.
In the passive sentence there may be the Effected participant realized by the
Subject, which will be realized as the direct object in the same situation expressed in an
active sentence.
The subject may have a Recipient role as he in He was offered a good job or I
liked the play. (cf: The play pleased me). However, it remains unclear if the Subject
Recipient can be realized by an abstract noun.

22
The Experiencer, the Sayer and the Carrier typically perform the subject role at
the syntactic level. However, as pointed out by (Valeika 1998: 94), depending on the
requirements of connected text, the Phenomenon, the Verbiage or the Attribute may be
thematized by raising them to the position of Subject –subjectivized - as in the
following examples:
The story of her life was told me by her father.
The beautiful hotel belongs to them.
As noted by Biber et.al. (2000:123), other, less common semantic roles are
expressed by Locative and Temporal subjects apart from their typical function as the
adverbials:
My left arm ached and my legs felt like wood. (Biber et.al. 2000:123)
Yesterday was a holiday. (Quirk et.al.1995: 747)
According to Quirk et.al. (1995: 747), frequently the role of the Eventive subject
is realized by the deverbal noun or a nominalization:
The expansion caused many casualties. (Biber et.al. 2000:123)
A post-mortem examination will take place today in Vancouver to confirm
identification from dental records. (Biber et.al. 2000:123)
The Existent can only function as Subject:
In the room there were two shelves and a small table. (Valeika 1998:94)
Like the Subject, the Object is normally a noun phrase or a nominal clause. The
Direct Object typically denotes an animate or inanimate participant affected by an action
or created by the action, the Affected or the Effected.
Those who can might rather walk the dog or paint the house. (Biber et.al.
2000:127) (dog Affected; house Effected)
With the Range (cognate) type of object, the noun head is semantically and often
morphologically related to the verb as breath in He breathed his last breath. (Quirk
et.al.1995: 752). In Halliday’s ‘logical terminology’ (1994:144) the Range would be
‘logical cognate object’.
However, Biber et.al. (2000:127) present a different approach to the Range
(cognate) object in syntactic analysis, maintaining that in such cases the direct object
does not really express a participant role, but rather a verbal notion most typically
repeating the meaning of the preceding verb. Their argumentation is based on the fact
that verbs combining with cognate objects are normally intransitive and do not
otherwise take a direct object. The object typically contains a noun derived from the

23
same verb and generally carrying the main new information. Biber et.al (2000:127)
distinguish the Eventive object as different from the Range object which is only
associated with cognate verbs. Unlike constructions with cognate objects, where the
verb and the object reinforce each other, the Eventive object combines with a
semantically light verb (usually do, give, have, make, or take) and the verbal meaning is
carried mainly by the object, as in the following example:
Take a walk down some of these tracks down here. (Biber et.al. 2000:127)
As pointed out by Quirk et.al. (1995:752), the more frequent Eventive object can
sometimes be related to a cognate object in that it substitutes for the major lexical
meaning of the verb whereas the cognate object repeats the lexical meaning. Cf:
They fought for a long time. (verb + adverbial)
They fought a long fight. (verb + cognate object)
They had a long fight. (verb + eventive object) (Quirk et.al.1995: 752)
The construction with the eventive object provides greater weight than the
corresponding SV type, especially if there are no optional adverbials, and is often
preferred to the SV construction in informal English.
Quirk et.al. (1995: 753) maintain that there are certain clear restrictions that the
object cannot be agentive. However, John Lyons (as referred to by Valeika, 1998:29),
recognizes both agentive and non-agentive objects. The prisoners in John marched the
prisoners is agentive.
In some processes of affectivity the Experiencer is used as Direct Object in the
surface structure and the Phenomenon is used as Subject and is expressed by a that-
clause:
That his wife left him surprised no-one. (Valeika 1998)
On the surface structure level the Phenomenon is realized as Direct Object by a
nominal word combination (which may be an entity, a fact or a process) or a predication
functioning as noun.
I heard him enter the house. (Valeika 1998:94)
The Verbiage typically functions as Direct Object. However, in the passive
construction it may be realized as Subject in which case the Sayer functions as Indirect
Object:
Her father told me the story of her life. vs
The story of her life was told me by her father. (Valeika 1998:94)

24
Less typically, we find Locative and Instrumental objects, expressing roles
which are otherwise associated with adverbials.
…the dragon swam the Ohio at will.(cf. swam across the Ohio).
He took a walk about the streets, kicking his feet in the sea of dry leaves on the
pavement. (cf. kicking with his feet). (Biber et.al. 2000:127)
However, as noted by Biber et.al. (2000:127), it is arguable whether Locative
and Instrumental objects should really be analysed as direct objects. Superficially these
clauses look like structures with a direct object. However, they differ from clauses with
ordinary Direct Objects in that they do not allow a passive paraphrase.
As pointed out by Quirk et.al. (1995: 749), superficially, these objects may seem
to be adverbials with an omitted preposition. However, their status as objects is justified
by their ability to assume subject role in a corresponding passive clause like in The
horse jumped the fence. Vs The fence was jumped by the horse.
The Indirect Object typically refers to an animate being that is the recipient of
the action. (Quirk et.al.1995: 726)
The participant roles characteristic of the Indirect Object are the Recipient
(corresponding to a paraphrase with to) and Beneficiary (Benefactive) (corresponding to
a paraphrase with for). The action denoted by the verb is generally favourable from the
point of view of the referent of the indirect object, but this is not necessarily so, as in the
example:
…he would receive a 10-minute penalty that would lose him the race. (Biber
et.al. 2000:129)
I’ve found you a place. (Quirk et.al.1995: 741)
Biber et.al. (2000:129) note that the Affected indirect objects occur with the
semantically light verb give and an Eventive direct object, corresponding to the direct
object of a simple verb, as in the following example:
Give it a good shake though. (cf. shake it well though)
The complement is normally a noun phrase or an adjective phrase, but it may
also be a nominal clause. The typical semantic role of a Subject complement and an
Object complement is that of the Attribute.
His response to the reprimand seemed a major reason for his dismissal.
They regard that as an excuse. (Quirk et.al.1995: 741)
The adverbial is normally an adverb phrase, prepositional phrase, or adverbial
clause. It may also be a noun phrase. The adverbial refers to the circumstances of the

25
situation (adjunct and subjunct), comments on the form or content of the clause
(disjunct), or provides a link between clauses (conjunct). A more specific semantic
characterization relates to the semantic subtypes of adverbials. (Quirk et.al.1995: 729)
The following are examples of semantic types adverbials provided by
Quirk et.al. (1995: 731):
All roads lead to Rome. (Goal)
We got into a heated argument. (metaphorical location)
The play lasts for three hours. (temporal extent)
The two eggs are for you. (recipient)
The drinks are for the journey. (purpose)
If fruit prices are higher this year,
it’s because of the bad harvest. (reason)
Transport to the mainland is by ferry. (means)
Entrance was by special invitation only. (means)
Payment is by cash only. (means)
Melvin’s main interest is in sport. (stimulus)
Jack and Nora are with me. (accompaniment)
The painting was by an unknown artist. (agent)
How much is this jacket? It’s $60. (measure)
According to Lyons (1977:497), the syntactic distinction between nominals and
adverbials correlates, though only imperfectly, with the syntactic distinction between the
subject or complements of a verb and its various adjuncts. This latter distinction also
correlates, though again imperfectly, with a further distinction that is commonly drawn
between the valency-roles, or participant-roles, and the circumstantial roles associated
with a situation. We are not obliged by the grammatical and lexical structure of English
to give circumstantial information. These circumstances are normally referred to by
means of syntactically optional adverbs or adverbials, whereas valency-roles are
associated, in what we may take to be the kernel-sentences of English, with nominals
(and, in certain instances, place-referring adverbials) functioning as the subjects or
complements of the verb.
Lyons (1977:497) points out that as far as English and many other languages are
concerned, it would seem that there is a hierarchical ordering within the valency-roles
associated with particular kinds of situation and this hierarchical ordering determines, in
part at least, which expressions will be included in the sentence-nucleus and whether

26
they will function as subjects, direct objects, indirect objects or as complements of some
other kind.
To sum up what has been said about syntactic functions, we would like to quote
Quirk et.al. (1995: 753), ‘although the semantic functions of the elements are quite
varied, there are certain clear restrictions, such as that the Object cannot be agentive; a
Subject (except in the passive) cannot be resultative; an Indirect Object normally has
only two functions – those of the Affected and the Recipient’.

2. SEMANTIC AND SYNTACTIC FUNCTIONS OF DEVERBAL ABSTRACT


NOUNS

The present part of the paper will be focused on the category of deverbal abstract
nouns in terms of the semantic and syntactic functions they are able to perform in the
clause. A great deal of attention will be paid to the category-function dichotomy since
we shall examine a range of semantic functions related to different types of processes
and the realization of the particular functions in the syntax of the English language.
As already mentioned, analysis of participant roles in the literature of semantic
syntax has not achieved a general consensus, nor has it fully explored all distinctions.
Therefore the terms used to denote semantic functions might be considered conventional
labels. As pointed out by Halliday (1994:112), ‘we cannot expect them to be appropriate
for all instances of a category - they are chosen to reflect its central or ‘core’
signification.’ The choice of semantic terms we will be using will not be limited to a
certain set of semantic roles introduced by a particular scholar. We will be applying the
terms which, by our own judgement, best suit to describe a particular function in a
particular context.
In what follows we shall outline the usage of deverbal abstract nouns drawing on
the examples from scientific discourse. I shall suggest that abstract nouns can perform
the same semantic and syntactic functions as the concrete ones although there are some
peculiarities in the patterns of their distribution and usage due to the abstract nature of
the entities they denote (due to their metaphorical nature).
The corpus analysed was restricted to 144 pages of approximately 350 words per
page (from The Oxford History of Britain, edited by Kenneth Morgan, p.p.120 – 270),
i.e. about 51,400 words. There were 1500 deverbal abstract nouns; that is an average

27
rate of one per 34 words of running text. Even though this means that the figures are in
no sense absolute, this fact does not reduce their indicative value.

2.1. SEMANTIC FUNCTIONS OF DEVERBAL ABSTRACT NOUNS


2.1.1. Inherent participant functions

Our analysis of semantic functions will be focused on the nature of the entities
participating in the process, i.e. whether particular functions can denote abstract entities
and thus be realized by deverbal abstract nouns. We shall first look at those semantic
functions which are inherent to particular process types – material, mental, verbal,
relational or existential - and then move on to those which are non-inherent to the
process.
2.1.1.1. Participant functions in material processes
We shall start with material processes, as the type of processes, which has deserved
most attention in the history of linguistics. The analysis of the corpus has shown that
abstract deverbal nouns have the highest rate of occurrence in clauses describing
material processes – 47.7 percent of all analysed cases.
Material processes may involve one participant or more than one participant:
Agent, Affected, Effected, Recipient and Beneficiary.
The analysis of the corpus has shown that the function of the Agent is not very
frequent with deverbal abstract nouns, as abstract entities realized by this grammatical
category make up only 8.5 percent of all cases. Our research has proved that deverbal
abstract nouns used in the function of the Agent generally can be attributed to the
External causer or Instrumental type of instances, as they posses some of the features,
namely effectiveness and force, though they can hardly be attributed the features of
volition and initiative, which are considered exclusively animate.
However, in many cases abstract nouns may be considered ‘true’ Agents as the
‘do something’ test may be easily applied to them. Consider:
But the count of Anjou’s single-minded concentration on the conquest of
Normandy led to him turning his back on England. (I:139)
The astonishing success of Pope Urban II’ s preaching tour created a climate of
opinion in which thousands decided to join the expedition. (I:129)
But this bureaucratic growth had not altered the fundamental political facts of
life<…>(I:162)

28
<…> his actions had helped to maintain peace and order in Scotland. (I:155)
<…> although by 1290 the Jewish community had been squeezed so hard by royal
financial demands (…) (I:171)
The above examples can be paraphrased respectively: ‘what his concentration on
the conquest did was...’, ‘what the success did was …’, ‘what this bureaucratic growth
had not done was…’ and ‘what his actions had done was…’
The development of canon law and of papal jurisdiction was tending to protect
innumerable vested interests. (I:178)
The above sentence serves as an illustration of the Agent function by a deverbal
noun denoting an abstract entity able to perform an action in the unmarked (typical)
tense, the Present Progressive.
In some cases abstract noun is made ‘true’ Agent by means of personification,
attributing to it the actions which cannot be performed by an abstract entity as in the
following example:
John’s final failure in 1214 ushered in a long period of relative peace. (I:169)
Agent as External causer
In some cases it is hard to distinguish between the semantic functions of an
Agent and a Circumstance expressed by deverbal nouns.
The survival of chancery records from 1199 onwards permits historians to look,
for the first time, into the daily routine of the king’s government at work. (I:151)
<…> but the steep rise in prices around 1200 created severe problems. (I:189)
John’s political failures did at least have the effect of easing his travel
problems. (I:161)
The latter example might be interpreted in terms of the theory of grammatical
metaphor which suggests the ‘unpacking’ technique, i.e. comparing the metaphoric form
with its congruent realization. In the above example the nominalized metaphoric form
could be reworded into its congruent form of the process as follows:
1) the survival of chancery records/ chancery records survived; the whole
sentence can be paraphrased into ‘because chancery records survived, historians are able
to look into the daily routine of the king’s government at work’.
2) the steep rise in prices/ prices rose; ‘severe problems were created due to the
steep rise in prices’.
3) John’s political failures/ John’s policy failed; ‘John’s travel problems eased
thanks to his political failures’.

29
Agent as Source
The marriages made by the rulers show that in the twelfth and thirteenth
centuries Scotland was increasingly becoming part of a ‘European’ political
scene.(I:159)
But close study of the much more fragmentary evidence for the period around 1100 has
demonstrated that < ..>) (I:160)
Agent as Means
No amount of distortion, concealment, and argument on Bolingbroke’s part
could disguise what was a coup d’etat. (I:221)
It is thought that renewed diplomatic and crusader contacts with the Muslim
and Mongol worlds of Egypt and Persia towards the end of thirteenth century
transmitted methods of Eastern building styles and techniques to the far West.
(I:251)
Agent as Instrumental
The following example illustrates the difficulty of distinguishing between the
Agent function and that of the Instrumental:
To some extent, forward planning of the royal itinerary helped; <…> (I:161).
Applying the ‘use’ test, we can interpret the meaning of the sentence in the
following form: ‘they used forward planning, which helped’.
Deverbal abstract nouns performing the function of non-causative Agents
A disputed election to the see of Canterbury in 1205 led to a clash with Innocent
III. (I:150)
<…> demographic and economic expansion was now levelling off (I:178)
<…> the use of the horse as a draught animal was spreading(…) (I:183)
<…>) the supply of labour rose(…) (I:187)
Affected
This term is applied to the participant which is affected by the action denoted by
the verb. The analysis of the corpus has shown that the function of the affected is one of
the most characteristic of deverbal abstract nouns, as abstract entities realized by this
grammatical category made up 12.9 percent of all cases in our study.
However, there are some problems related to the Agent/Affected distinction
when these functions denote abstract entities, whereas with concrete ones the participant
roles are clear. In some cases there is very little difference between active and passive
forms:

30
After an initial period of confusion, trial by ordeal was replaced by trial by jury.
(I:175)
<…> when trial by jury replaced the ordeal (I:175)
The following are examples of deverbal abstract nouns performing the function
of the Affected:
With English silver he was able to buy support (I:129)
The deed shocked Christendom and secured Becket's canonization in record time.
(I:145)
<…> the sheer size of the empire inevitably stimulated the further development of
localized governments (I:146)
In these circumstances the king controlled his ward's marriage. (I:163)
Finally, in 1215 Pope Innocent III forbade the participation of priests in the ordeal
<…> (I:175)
The Affected function was also realized by deverbal abstract nouns in passive clauses:
<…> he was granted his father's other major acquisition (…) (I:145)
The success of these managerial reforms may be measured by the fact <…>(I:168)
<…> they were denied the sacrament of the altar, solemnization of marriages, burial
in consecrated ground. (I:180)
The most famous description of the process can be read in Jocelin of Brakelond's
account of the business-like life of Abbot Samson of Bury St.Edmunds. (I:190)
Effected
The Effected is the participant that results from the creative process. Deverbal
abstract nouns can be used for the realization of the Effected function. The analysis of
the corpus has shown that the function of the Effected realized by this grammatical
category make up 3.8 percent of all cases. The following are the examples from the texts
of our study:
When the old king died <…> in this sense it was Henry himself who provoked the
succession dispute which followed his death. (I:137)
The trouble was that they aroused expectations (I:145)
<…> whereas the king could, and did, create new offences. (I:174)
<…> theEnglish Church established the diocesan and parochial organization <…>
(I:178)
Deverbal abstract nouns are also used to realize the Effected function in passive clauses:
<…> and a permanent administration was devised for the conquered lands. (I:195)
Coastal defence against French and Castilian raiders <...> was organized by the
maritime shires of the South and East. (I:261)

31
International acceptance was won by alliances in Germany, Scandinavia, Brittany,
and Burgundian Flanders. (I:228)
Recipient
The Recipient is the participant to whom the action is directed and who receives the
‘goods’. Most typically the Recipient is human but it can also denote an abstract entity.
The analysis of the corpus has shown that the function of the Recipient is not very
frequent with deverbal abstract nouns, as abstract entities realized by this grammatical
category make up only 1.4 percent of all cases.
The Recipient function is characteristic of material and verbal processes and
occasionally of relational ones. The analysis of the corpus has shown that abstract
deverbal nouns occur in all these types of clauses. The following are examples of the
Recipient function realized by deverbal abstract nouns in clauses of material processes:
This diplomatic pattern lends some slight credibility to William of Malmesbury’s
assertion <…> (I:136)
Not only did Henry agree that he would finance the island's conquest (I:153)
Scottish advance here was materially assisted by the stability and continuity of
leadership (I:158)

2.1.1.2. Participant functions in mental processes


As it has already been mentioned, in a mental process clause the set of possible
participants is less restricted than in a material one, i.e. participants may be not only
‘things’ but also ‘facts’. However, our research has shown that the frequency of
occurrence of deverbal abstract nouns in clauses denoting mental processes is not very
high – they made up 6.5 percent of all clauses of the corpus.
The Experiencer function denotes a human-like participant – a human, an
animal or a personified inanimate entity. In the latter case it is endowed with
consciousness. In our study deverbal abstract nouns very rarely (only 0.2 percent of all
functions) acted as the Experiencer.
This achievement owed much to the inspiration, example and leadership of Edward III
and the Black Prince, <…> (I:201)
<…>, and colonial rule would be threatened (I:195)
The other participant in a mental process is referred to as the Phenomenon and
denotes the entity or the fact which is perceived, thought or felt. The function of the
Phenomenon is more characteristic of deverbal abstract nouns, although not very
frequent in occurrence, either, as it made up 4.4 percent of the corpus.

32
The Phenomenon in processes of perception:
In this sense too the English economy saw comparatively little change. (I:183)
Thus already in William's reign it is possible to see the political pattern which was to
dominate the next century: the intermingling of family dissension and frontier dispute.
(I:127)
The conquest of Wales can be seen as the culmination of centuries of warfare <…>
(I:155)
The Phenomenon in processes of cognition:
No one in England seems to have been aware of their existence <…> (I:133)
<…> to acknowledge his territorial gains(I:157)
Henry III accepted the loss of most of his Continental possessions. (I:157)
Where we know the occupations of their inhabitants <…> (I:185)
The Phenomenon in processes of affectivity:
In war and in the acquisition of territory he enjoyed such success <…>(I:131)
<…> which did not require meetings of influential men to approve their exploitation
<…>(I:171)

2.1.1.3. Participant functions in verbal processes


By verbal processes are meant processes of saying or communicating. They are
realized in the surface structure by verbs of saying. Our research has shown that the
frequency of occurrence of deverbal abstract nouns in clauses denoting verbal processes
is relatively low – they made up 3.4 percent of all clauses of the corpus.
The participant which/who conveys information is called the Sayer. Verbal
processes do not require a conscious participant, i.e. the Sayer can be anything that puts
out a signal. However, the analysis of the corpus has shown that the frequency of
occurrence of deverbal abstract nouns acting as the Sayer is very low – only 0.7 percent
of all cases. Examples:
An exchequer record, a pipe roll, tells almost nothing about those sums <…> (I:166)
The existence of highly independent French provinces dictated English strategy.
(I:200)
However, London's spectacular growth alone explains this apparent over-population
<…> (I:265)
The last revolt before 1450 to be justified by the usurpation <…> (I:227)
The other participant functions related to verbal processes are those of the
Verbiage, the Recipient and the Target.

33
The Verbiage represents either the content of what is said or the name of the saying.
In the early days many Englishmen were able to offer their submission <…> (I:121)
<…> he issued a charter of liberties denouncing his brother’s oppressive practices
and promising good government. (I:132)
Henry renounced lay investiture (…) (I:134)
Even when the pope, beginning in 1199, ordered the taxation of the Church <…>
(I:180)
The connection is spelt out in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle's entry for 1118. (I:136)
The Recipient (also named Receiver) is the one to whom the saying is directed, the
‘addressee’.
Moreover, the absences of the king on campaign <…> posed serious questions for a
sophisticated administration normally under personal direction of the king. (I:205)
The government was, therefore, well advised to weigh carefully the news it transmitted
to the realm <…> (I:238)
The Target is the entity that is targeted by the process of saying.
Magna Carta criticized many aspects of royal government, but not this one. (I:174)
<…> uprisings culminating in Owain Glyndwr's rebellion seemed to justify this
distrust
Taking into consideration Halliday’s (1994:141) observation that at the opposite
borderline verbal processes shade into the ‘symbolic’ type of relational processes
involving grammatical metaphor, the following examples illustrate abstract nouns acting
as Carriers rather than Sayers:
<…> a comparison with Domesday Book suggests that they were already a declining
asset. (I:167)
These developments suggest that royal revenues reached new high levels during
Richard's and John's reign. (I:169)
Study of the West Midlands manor of Halesowen suggests that poor tenants there had
a life expectancy some ten years less than the better-off tenants <…> (I:189)

2.1.1.4. Participant functions in relational processes


Relational processes express the notion of being, becoming or remaining
something or somewhere. They include three types of the process: attributive,
possessive and circumstantial. The analysis of the corpus has shown that abstract
deverbal nouns have a high rate of occurrence in clauses describing relational processes
– 38.4 percent of all analysed cases.

34
The principle participant in a relational process is called the Carrier. The
analysis of the corpus has shown that the function of the Carrier is relatively frequent
with deverbal abstract nouns, as abstract entities realized by this grammatical category
make up 16.2 percent of all cases.
The following are examples of the Carrier function realized by deverbal abstract
nouns in clauses of identifying processes:
The preoccupation with the defence of Normandy was a serious matter in England too.
(I:136)
But the introduction of frequent circuits meant the ever-increasing burden of judicial
work <…> (I:174)
The growth of population meant an increasing demand for food. (I:189)
All these changes presupposed the existence of widespread practical literacy <…>
(I:190)
As dentifying constructions are reversible, in some cases, it is difficult to
distinguish between the Carrier and attributive functions expressed by abstract nouns:
Thus the immediate consequence was the physical expansion of settlement and
cultivation. (I:185)
One aspect of this was the assistance he gave to the kingdom of Jerusalem. (I:147)
Internal political fragmentation and separation from England were the result. (I:222)
A further factor was the emergence in the fourteenth century of London as the settled
capital of the kingdom.(I:248)
The following are examples of the Carrier function realized by deverbal abstract
nouns in clauses of characterizing processes:
Much more significant was the kingdom's extension to include <…> (I:158)
War was occasional and other acceptable justifications for the tax were rare, so
consent was only occasionally forthcoming <…> (I:171)
The territorial organization of the Church became, as it were, frozen in its twelfth-
century state. (I:178)
Henry's marriage was a great coup – yet it also gave new hope to Stephen. (I:140)
John's response to the interdict was to confiscate the estates of the Church <> (I:150)
The other participant in relational processes is the Attribute. The function of
the Attribute is to characterize the Carrier or through the properties to identify it. The
analysis of the corpus has shown that the function of the Attribute is less frequent with
deverbal abstract nouns than that of the Carrier, as abstract entities realized by this
grammatical category make up only 10.1 percent of all cases. The following are

35
examples of the Attribute function realized by deverbal abstract nouns in clauses of
identifying processes:
<…> it turned out to be a struggle <…> (I:136)
In popular memory the archbishop came to symbolize resistance to the oppressive
authority of the State <…> (I:145)
Scotland proved a persistent and expensive irritation after English claims were
thwarted by determined and united resistance by the Scots.(I:197)
The Recipient function occasionally occurs in relational attributive processes.
The following are examples of the Recipient function realized by deverbal abstract
nouns in clauses of relational processes in the corpus:
This Scottish intervention was a severe shock to the English government. (I:197)
Edward I legislated in their interest, notably to facilitate the recovery of debts at
law, which was essential to the expansion of trade. (I:210)
The greater ease of understanding <…> was crucial to the effectiveness of
communication, the common expression of opinion and the forging of a sense of
nationhood. (I:249)
In some cases it is difficult to distinguish between the Recipient and the
Circumstance of Goal functions as they are both grammatically realised by prepositional
phrases with to. The non-prepositional test suggested by Halliday (1994:145) is not
applicable to abstract entities, i.e. abstract verbal nouns, whereas in the case of persons
and objects this does not generally pose problems. Consider:
This contributed to the success of Edward Bruce <…> (I:197)
Throughout the war, Burgundy's support was essential to English success.
(I:228)
As pointed out by Halliday (1994:121), there is overlap between mental and
attributive (characterizing) relational processes, and not every instance can be clearly
assigned to one category or the other.
He needed their assistance and had to be sure of their loyalty. (I:133)
There is also overlap between passive material sentences and relational
attributive sentences, which makes it difficult to identify the process type. The problem
lies in the nature of the result of the causative action by the Agent. Having undergone
the action, the other participant in the process - the Affected - gets into a certain state,
expressed by the passive form. Therefore the meaning of material passive sentences
becomes very close to that of relative sentences describing the status of the Carrier as

36
being or becoming something. Thus the characterizing constructions in relational
sentences describe the attribute as the result of such a process. Cf.
But the rebellion was poorly planned and organized. (I:219)
It <…> was a land marred by misgovernment and disorder. (I:223)
Decoration was now concentrated English-style in roof vaulting <…> (I:252)
<…> government could be based either upon a nobility or an army. (I:269)
Clearly this development of a literate mentality is closely linked with the cultural
movement commonly known as the twelfth-century Renaissance. (I:125)
But are these profound developments associated with revolutionary changes in other
aspects of social organization? (I:125)
Territorial expansion in the Highlands was matched by internal development in the
Lowlands. (I:158)
In the possessive relational process the relationship between the elements is that
of possession or ownership.
The following are examples of the Carrier function realized by deverbal abstract
nouns in clauses of possessive processes:
But more intensive land use required a correspondingly more intensive application of
fertilizers if soil quality were to be maintained. (I:186)
Men offered money in order to obtain what the king had to offer: offices, succession to
estates,<…> and marriage. (I:164)
<…> which did not require meetings of influential men to approve their exploitation.
(I:171)
<…> this was a dictum which could have far-reaching implications. (I:175)
The following are examples of the Attribute function realized by deverbal
abstract nouns in clauses of possessive processes:
Henry had little choice but to take them over. (I:132)
Geoffrey was to have the acquisition, Brittany. (I:145)
Characteristic of all these taxes was that someone else's consent was required <…>
(I:170)
<…> the greater was the need for political mechanisms that enabled that consent to be
obtained. (I:171)
The semantic structure of circumstantial relational processes includes the Carrier
and Circumstance which is inherent to the process. The relationship between the two
terms is one of extent, place, manner, cause, contingency, accompaniment, role, matter

37
or angle. The analysis of the corpus has shown that abstract deverbal nouns can be used
to express both functions.
The following are examples of the Carrier function realized by deverbal abstract
nouns in clauses of circumstantial relative processes:
The earliest reference to the ex-cheque dates from 1110. (I:166)
Its yield varied according to the fortunes of the wool trade <…> (I:170)
One such shift was in the direction of a self-consciously rational approach to
intellectual problems - an approach typified by Abelard's dictum. (I:174)
The basic outline of the English economy in 1086 emerges very clearly from the
repetitive laconic phrases of Domesday Book. (I:181)
The Edwardian conquests were largely retained in Crown hands <…> (I:157)
The analysis of the corpus has shown that the function of the Circumstance is
relatively frequent with deverbal abstract nouns, as abstract entities realized by this
grammatical category make up 18.9 percent of all cases of circumstance use.

2.1.1.5. Participants in existential processes


Existential processes are processes of being and occurrence. The analysis of the
corpus has shown that abstract deverbal nouns have a relatively low rate of occurrence
in clauses describing existential processes – 3.9 percent of all analysed cases.
Existential processes are one-participant processes. The single participant is the
Existent, which may be human and non-human, i.e. person, object, or abstraction. The
analysis of the corpus has shown that the function of Existent is not very frequent with
deverbal abstract nouns, as abstract entities realized by this grammatical category make
up only 3.0 percent of all cases.
Examples of the Existent in the corpus:
<…> there was a strong presumption that the oldest son should have his fathers
patrimony (…) (I:127)
There followed Edward's conquest and a massive programme of castle building.
(I:157)
In the meantime, however, there were two other significant thirteenth-century
innovations - the development of taxation of the clergy, and the establishment of a
customs system. (I:169)
<…> but neither was there an upsurge of interest in alternative religions. (I:180)
There were undoubtedly striking improvements in ship design <…> (I:182)
<…> in one vital respect there had been considerable change. (I:184)

38
In Edward I's reign there is still the same combination of planning and plunder.
(I:161)
The following are examples of the circumstance function realized by deverbal
abstract nouns in clauses of existential processes:
Moreover, despite the claims sometimes made for the cloth fulling-mill, there were no
significant advances in industrial technology. (I:183)
<…> there was a much higher degree of continuity in economic and social
organization than is often supposed. (I:126)
According to Halliday (1994:143), when the Existent represents an action or
event, the existential merges into the material type of process: there is little difference in
meaning between the existential there The following are examples of the Recipient
function realized by deverbal abstract nouns in clauses of relational processes in the
corpus:
This Scottish intervention was a severe shock to the English government. (I:197)
Edward I legislated in their interest, notably to facilitate the recovery of debts at
law, which was essential to the expansion of trade. (I:210)
The greater ease of understanding <…> was crucial to the effectiveness of
communication, the common expression of opinion and the forging of a sense of
nationhood. (I:249)

2.1.1.6. The Range function


The Range is the function that defines the range or scope of the process.
Semantically a Range element is not in any very obvious sense a participant in the
process, it might be considered to be on the borderline between participants and
circumstances. The analysis of the corpus has shown that the Range function is
characteristic of deverbal abstract nouns. The relative occurrence of this function made
up 7.0 percent of all cases.
The Range function occurs in material, mental and verbal processes. The
following are examples of the Range function realized by deverbal abstract nouns in
clauses of material processes:
<…> he received the injury from which he died. (I:127)
He rode to Winchester and took possession of the treasury. (I:131)
Clerks who committed felonies could escape capital punishment <…> (I:144)
An expedition <…> made no serious attempt to recover Poitou. (I:323)
Welsh princes… resumed control of lands they had earlier lost. (I:156)

39
<…> they were clearly felt to be performing a useful service. (I:174)
The new machine (…) tended to impose punishment without compensation. (I:176)
The real losses were suffered on the Continent <…> (I:147)
<…> the most important political and administrative decisions were taken. (I:162)
Naturally attempts were made to farm the existing arable more intensively. (I:186)
In mental processes the Range is not an additional element but an interpretation
of the Phenomenon. It is the element which indicates the limits of the perception,
cognition or affectivity. The following are examples of the Range function realized by
deverbal abstract nouns in clauses of mental processes:
They could be bent in order to take account of political realities<..>. (I:128)
He took a close interest in the details of governmental and legal business <…> (I:151)
In verbal processes the Range refers to the Verbiage in terms of the content or
nature of the verbal process. The following are examples of the Range function realized
by deverbal abstract nouns in clauses of verbal processes:
Cnut and, probably, Aethelred the Unready were already making promises broadly
similar to those contained in the charter of 1100. (I:164)
In 1089 Rufus laid claim to the duchy. (I:129)
This speed of action has prompted speculation that Henry knew that his brother was
going to die. (I:131)

2.1.2. NON-INHERENT PARTICIPANT FUNCTIONS


The participant functions, as described above, are those inherent to a particular
process. Grammatically they relate directly to the verb without a preposition.
In the present section we shall discuss other participant functions realized in
clauses of different processes. Semantically these functions - Beneficiary and
Instrumental – are not generally inherent to the process and therefore are usually used
optionally.
The Beneficiary is a participant for whom the service is done. The analysis of the
corpus has shown that abstract entities can rarely perform the Beneficiary function, as
our study has rendered only 0.3 percent of cases of deverbal abstract nouns denoting this
function.
The following are examples of the Beneficiary function realized by deverbal
abstract nouns in clauses of material processes:
William continued to harass the archbishop, and never showed any sympathy for his
attempts to reform the Church (I:131)

40
<…> as soon as he had raised enough money and arranged for the secure government
for all his dominions. (I:147)
So the rebels devised a new kind of focus for revolt: a programme of reform.(I:150)
<…> the way was opened for a negotiated settlement. (I:140)
As both the Beneficiary and the Circumstance of Behalf are grammatically
realised by prepositional phrases with for, it is difficult to distinguish between the two
functions. The non-prepositional test proposed by Halliday (1994:145) as in Fred
bought a present for his wife/bought his wife a present as opposed to I’m doing all this
for Mary where for Mary is a Circumstance of Behalf generally works only for concrete
entities. We must admit that this test is not easily applied in the case of abstract entities,
i.e. abstract deverbal nouns.
The Instrumental is the entity which an agent uses to perform or instigate a
process. Our analysis of the corpus has shown that the Instrumental function is
characteristic of verbal abstract nouns. It accounted for 1.7 percent of the corpus.
<…> he used diplomatic pressure to force the young king of Scotland, Malcolm IV, to
restore Cumberland(…) to the English Crown. (I:143)
Some were sited where they could take advantage of the expansion of maritime
commerce <…> (I:185)
<…> the government resorted to racial and cultural separation, even persecution, by
a series of enactments <…> (I:197)
But a man's acquisition <…> could more easily be used to provide for other members
of his family. Thus England, the Conqueror's vast acquisition, was used to provide for
his younger son, William. (I:127)
<…> it was being replenished by forfeitures and reversions to the Crown. (I:167)
Some <…> resorted to high-handed measures, even to oppression and extortion, to
preserve their hold in their remaining tenants. (I:216)

2.1.3. CIRCUMSTANTIAL FUNCTIONS OF ABSTRACT NOUNS


Typically circumstantial elements occur in all types of processes. In our analysis
we shall use the terms of the types of circumstantial elements proposed by Halliday
(1994:151): Extent, Location, Manner, Cause, Contingency, Accompaniment, Role,
Matter and Angle. The following are examples of the circumstantial function realized by
deverbal abstract nouns in clauses of different processes:
EXTENT

41
To a quite remarkable extent, the clergy learnt to do what the pope told them to do.
(I:180)
But the need for stability went far beyond Henry VII’s accession and marriage. (I:266)
LOCATION
Examples in relational sentences:
The essential features of this patronage system were already in existence during the
reign of William Rufus. (I:163)
<…> credit finance came to play an increasingly large part in government. (I:170)
The main problems lay not in ploughing, but in sowing, reaping and maintaining soil
fertility. (I:184)
Henry V was portrayed for all to see at his reception by London as a soldier of Christ
<…> (I:239)
<…>‘in war and in the acquisition of territory he enjoyed such success that you would
think the whole world smiling on him. (I:131)
Goal
Examples in material processes:
<…> Becket had reduced the English Church to confusion (I:144)
<…> the people in the church were thrown into confusion (…) (I:120)
<…> which led <…> to Philip's declaration that all John’s continental dominions
were forfeit (I:149)
These claims led to intervention in Nantes (I:143)
In the twelfth century, many tenants found their obligations converted from labour
service to payment of a money rent. (I:187)
Examples in relational circumstantial processes:
<…> which pointed in the opposite direction: the seemingly inexorable development
of bureaucracy. (I:162)
<…> that was hostile to English rule and open to exploitation by Scots<…> (I:198)
Source
In the short run the king had gained from the quarrel. (I:131)
In this financial year Henry I is recorded as having collected 3,600 from agreements
of this kind (I:165)
As the proceedings of the parliament of 1290 make clear it was above all else
the king's need for taxation which stimulated this development. (I:172)
48 per cent of this debt was repaid out of the customs receipt from a trade <…>
(I:179)

42
The king of Scots was too powerful to have much to fear from the kind of 'private
enterprise' invasions. (I:158)
<…> his good luck had freed him from dependence on any one group or faction.
(I:267)
Henry VII went far towards filtering out the threat of an alienated nobility that sprang
from lack of communications and isolation in the political wilderness. (I:270)
Temporal
These developments suggest that royal revenues reached new high levels during
Richard's and John's reign. (I:169)
At Edward I’s accession this prosperous wine-producing province was England's only
remaining French territory<…> (I:198)
<…>, and after the defeat of his opponents at Boroughbridge in 1322, he executed
Lancaster. (I:204)
On the queen's death in 1603, it had recovered to a figure of 45 <…> (I:262)
England was economically healthier<…> under the Tudors than at any time since the
Roman occupation of Britain. (I:258)
<…> when the demands of Cade's followers were submitted at the outset <…> (I:246)
MANNER:
Means
In general the expansion of farmland took place not so much through the
establishment of new settlements as through piecemeal increase around existing
centres. (I:186)
People responded with evasion <…> and with rebellion. (I:218)
But no medieval king could rule by good intentions alone. (I:232)
Comparison
<…> by comparison with some of its neighbours, England was less advanced in the
thirteenth century. (I:184)
<…> epidemics took fewer victims than before in proportion to the expansion of
population. (I:264)
But service in Wales was nothing like as popular as service in the lusher fields of
France. (I:227)
CAUSE:
Reason
Yet ironically it is not for his successes that Henry is best remembered <…> (I:144)
<…> they were on the defensive against the Scots partly because of the renewal of war
in France (I:222)

43
Above all, the stability of his later years owed much to the continuity of service of
several able and loyal officers of state. (I:235)
That was in large part due to the substantial migration of midlanders <…> (I:248)
<…> and food prices had fallen in reply to reduced market demand. (I:260)
Of the two Yorkist impostures, that of Lambert Simnel <…> was, thanks to the Irish
support, more menacing; <…> (I:267)
The following are the examples of the circumstance of reason as the Agentive
external causer:
But the degeneration of political behaviour, especially the illegal actions of Edward
IV, made Edward V's accession particularly perilous. (I:235)
The growth of taxation <…> enabled the Crown to tap the wealth of private
landowners and merchants, too. (I:212)
The preoccupation with war made the king heavily dependent on the wealth and
forbearance of his subjects. (I:212)
Purpose
If he were able to employ the wealth of Flanders in pursuit of his claim to Normandy,
<…> (I:137)
The Scots sought French aid and papal support they generated a vigorous patriotism
in defence of their political independence. (I:196)
And merchants from the capital and Calais visited the Welsh borderland in search of
fine wool. (I:209)
Behalf
Obviously, it was not in the king's interest that England and Normandy should be
under separate rulers. But neither was it in the interest of the aristocracy. (I:129)
His premature death had become the cue for the usurpation of Richard III <…>
(I:267)
CONTINGENCY
Condition
Under the impact of these defeats, support for Louis dwindled rapidly. (I:151)
Under a new name and a revised assessment, it was revived and levied four times <…
> (I:169)
Concession
Apart from a temporary success, <…> the border with England remained where it had
been established in the eleventh century. (I:158)
Welshmen were distrusted by the English, despite Edward I's conquests <…> (I:192)

44
Further crisis was avoided despite England's involvement in its most major war yet.
(I:205)
Default
<…> the Norman barons could give their allegiance to someone else only at the risk of
losing their English estates. (I:138)
ACCOMPANIMENT
The Norman Conquest of 1066 was followed by an Angevin conquest <…> (I:122)
Celtic prejudice against Englishmen flourished with all the bitterness and resentment
<…> (I:192)
In ‘parliaments’ in 1404 and 1405 he produced grand schemes for Wales, with its own
ecclesiastical organization and universities <…> (I:227)
that could operate without the participation of the king himself. (I:240)
<…> but the Tudor population continued to increase steadily and inexorably, with a
temporary reversal only in the late 1550s.(I:259)
ROLE
<…> they had done little to transform that ill-defined over-lordship into lasting
military and administrative control. (I:156)
This is the process known as the growth of representative institutions <…> (I:171)
<…> Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, turned to this intensive spiritual
life as reaction to the arid theological discussions of scholars <…> (I:244)
<…> which have been hailed as’ the most brilliant display of sheer inventiveness sin
the whole history of English medieval architecture<…> (I:251)
MATTER
<…> it becomes possible to speak of the application over almost the entire country of
a common body of customary law (…) (I:173)
<…> and recall prophecies that foretold of the expulsion of the English from Wales.
(I:193)
<…> they were understandably less concerned about the king's overseas inheritance.
(I:152)
If any citizen harboured lingering doubts about the justice of his invasion of France
<…> (I:239)
<…> it had been exacted by force, and by spreading a fictitious story about the old
King's deathbed change of mind. (I:138)
ANGLE
In view of Robert's record < …> this would have been a reasonable judgement <…>
(I:128)

45
In broad outline < ..> it is an Anglo-Saxon system. (I:166)
In view of the inflation in the previous one hundred and fifty years, however, this
means that <…> (I:168)
English kings from Edward I were more truly English in upbringing and outlook than
any since King Harold. (I:254)

By way of summing up, as pointed out by Radford (1995: 375), semantic


functions enable us to capture the similarity between different but related uses of the
same item. In what follows we shall provide examples showing that the same item
denoting an abstract entity can be used to express a variety of semantic functions.
Accession
Although the accession of Edward’s son ensured that hereditary principle remained
intact <…> (I:204) (material; Agent; subject)
But the degeneration of political behaviour, especially the illegal actions of Edward
IV, made Edward V's accession particularly perilous. (I:235) (material; Affected;
direct object)
At Edward I’s accession this prosperous wine-producing province was England's only
remaining French territory<…> (I:198) (relational; circumstance of location
(temporal); adverbial)
<…> yet within a few months of his accession Rufus found himself opposed by a
powerful coalition of great barons. (I:128) (attributive adjunct)
Acquisition
<…> he was granted his father's other major acquisition <…> (I:145) (material;
Affected; direct object)
Henry V’s spectacular victories enabled … the acquisition of estates in northern
France <…> (I:216) (material; Effected; direct object)
But a man's acquisition (…) could more easily be used to provide for other members of
his family. Thus England, the Conqueror's vast acquisition, was used to provide for his
younger son, William. (I:127) (material; Instrumental; subject)
<…>‘in war and in the acquisition of territory he enjoyed such success that you would
think the whole world smiling on him. (I:131) (mental; Circumstance: location;
adverbial)
Geoffrey was to have the acquisition, Brittany. (I:145) (relational: possessive;
Attribute; direct object)

46
Administration
This administration began as a military regime but soon established peace and
stability by a judicious combination of English innovation and Welsh practice.(I:195)
(material; Agent; subject)
For example, one of the surviving documents produced by Henry II's administration, is
the delightfully named ‘Roll of Ladies, boys and girls’. (I:164) (material; Agent;
indirect object)
<…> his elder brother had left him a ready-made court and administration <…>
(I:132) (material; Affected; direct object)
<…>; and a permanent administration was devised for the conquered lands. (I:195)
(material; Effected; subject)
Moreover, the absences of king on campaign <…> posed serious question to a
sophisticated administration under the personal direction of the king. (I:205) (verbal;
Recipient; indirect object)
The king's administration was co-operative affair. (I:237) (relational; Carrier; subject)
<…> who represented the central administration of a great estate. (I:190) (relational:
attributive; Attribute; direct object)
Bishops and abbots were great landowners and key figures in central and local
administration <…> (I:133) (relational: attributive; circumstance of location;
adverbial)
The tentacles of royal administration - enabling decisions, grants of taxation and legal
pronouncements to be implemented - stretched to the extremities of the British Isles in
every direction but the north and west. (I:237) ( attributive adjunct)
Development
This development , taken together with Henry's interest in rational reform, has led to
him being regarded as the founder of the English common law <…> (I:146) (material;
Agent; subject)
<…> the sheer size of the empire inevitably stimulated the further development of
localized administrations <…> 9I:146) (material; Affected; direct object)
which pointed in the opposite direction: the seemingly inexorable development of
bureaucracy. (I:162)(material; circumstance of location; adverbial)
These developments suggest that royal revenues reached new high levels during
Richard's and John's reign. (I:169) (verbal; Sayer; subject)
In so far as any architectural development can be explained with precision, <…>
(I:251) (verbal; Verbiage; subject)

47
At this point, the development of the legalistic outlook becomes important. (I:187)
(relational; Carrier; subject)
<…> Richard's long absences meant the continuing development, under Walter's
supervision, of an effective machinery of central government. (I:148) (relational;
Attribute; subject complement)
Even so there was no English commercial revolution, no development of banks and
credit facilities of the kind that can be claimed for thirteenth century Italy. 9I:182)
(existential; Existent; subject)
<…> the two lines of development are opposite and commensurate. (I:262)
(attributive adjunct)
Government
<…> his contingency plans restored stable government. (I:147) (material; Affected;
direct object)
<…> as soon as he had raised enough money and arranged for the secure government
of all his dominions (I:147) (material; Beneficiary; indirect object)
<…> when he issued a charter of liberties denouncing his brother’s oppressive
practices and promising good government. (I:132) (verbal; Verbiage; direct object)
Thus in England, as elsewhere, government became increasingly complex and
bureaucratic. (I:146) (relational; Carrier; subject)
Concentrated, co-ordinated, and sedentary government was the result. (I:240)
(relational; attribute; subject)
This Scottish intervention was a severe shock to the English government. (I:197)
(relational; Recipient; indirect object)
<…> credit finance came to play an increasingly large part in government. (I:170)
(relational; circumstance; adverbial)
At the centre of this development, <…> lay the king’s government. (I:124) (existential;
Existent; subject)
English government expenditure on warfare, heavy borrowing, and debasements
unquestionably exacerbated inflation and unemployment. (I:263) (attributive adjunct
in pre-modifier position)
Growth
But this bureaucratic growth had not altered the fundamental political facts of life;
<…> (I:162) (material; Agent; subject)
More positively, the increased manpower and demand that sprang from rising
population stimulated economic growth <…> (I:258) (material; Affected; direct
object)

48
Also, population growth was only temporarily interrupted. (I:264) (material; Affected;
subject)
However, London's spectacular growth alone explains this apparent over-population
<…> (I:265) (verbal; Sayer; subject)
This is the process known as the growth of representative institutions; in the case of
the tax on movables it is the growth of Parliament. (I;171) (mental; circumstance of
Role; adverbial; relational; carrier; subject)
The growth of population meant an increasing demand for food. (I:189) (relational;
carrier; subject)
<…> and these were the wider symptoms of population growth and agricultural
commercialisation. (I:259) (attributive adjunct)
Summing up what has been said about the use of deverbal abstract nouns, it
should be pointed out that the semantic potential of this grammatical category is not
limited to certain semantic functions. In the corpus of our study we have found cases of
all semantic functions realized by deverbal abstract nouns.
The relative frequency of occurrence of deverbal abstract nouns in different
types of process is presented in Table 1. The frequency of realization of different
semantic functions by abstract nouns is presented in Table 2.
Table 1. The relative frequency of occurrence of deverbal abstract nouns in clauses
material mental verbal relational existential
47.7% 6.5% 3.3% 38.4% 4.0%

Table 2. The relative frequency of occurrence of semantic functions realized by deverbal


abstract nouns
Semantic function Relative occurence
Agent 8.5%
Affected 12.9%
Effected 3.8%
Expierencer 0.2%
Phenomenon 4.0%
Sayer 0.7%
Verbiage 1.1%
Carrier 16.3%
Attribute 8.4%
Existent 2.7%
Range 7.0%
Recipient 1.3%
Beneficiary 0.3%
Instrumental 1.7%
Circumstance 31.2%

49
50
2.2.SYNTACTIC FUNCTIONS OF DEVERBAL ABSTRACT NOUNS
In our study we shall look at the possibilities for employing deverbal abstract
nouns to perform syntactic functions in a clause in relation to their semantic functions.

2.2.1. Syntactic functions of inherent participants


Subject
The analysis of the corpus showed that deverbal abstract nouns performing the
function of the Agent were used as the Subject in the clause. Consider:
This development, taken together with Henry's interest in rational reform, has led to
him being regarded as the founder of the English common law <…> (I:146) (material;
Agent; subject)
The astonishing success of Pope Urban II’ s preaching tour created a climate of
opinion in which thousands decided to join the expedition. (I:129)
Deverbal abstract nouns performing the function of the External causer of an
event were used in the Subject function in the clause:
John’s political failures did at least have the effect of easing his travel
problems. (I:161)
On a syntactic level the Affected was realized as the Subject by deverbal
abstract nouns both in active and passive clauses. Cf.
Under the impact of these defeats, support for Louis dwindled rapidly.(I:151)
<…> as the population declined so did the demand for food and supplies, and the
prices followed suit. (I:212)
<…> more prohibitions had been published since. (I:133)
<…> next year this arrangement was legitimised. (I:139)
In the surface structure the Effected participant was realized as the Subject in
the passive form. Consider:
<…> and a permanent administration was devised for the conquered lands. (I:195)
Coastal defence against French and Castilian raiders <...> was organized by the
maritime shires of the South and East. (I:261)
The Recipient function was also realized as the Subject by deverbal abstract
nouns in passive clauses:
Scottish advance here was materially assisted by the stability and continuity of
leadership (I:158)
The government was, therefore, well advised to weigh carefully the news it transmitted
to the realm <…> (I:238)

51
In the corpus examined, the Experiencer function was realized as the Subject
by deverbal abstract nouns:
This achievement owed much to the inspiration, example and leadership of Edward III
and the Black Prince, <…> (I:201)
<…>, and colonial rule would be threatened (I:195)
The Phenomenon function was also realized as the Subject by deverbal abstract
nouns in passive clauses:
The conquest of Wales can be seen as the culmination of centuries of warfare <…>
(I:155)
Consider the most prominent examples of the Sayer function was realized as the
Subject in the corpus analyzed:
An exchequer record, a pipe roll, tells almost nothing about those sums <…> (I:166)
The existence of highly independent French provinces dictated English strategy.
(I:200)
However, London's spectacular growth alone explains this apparent over-population
<…> (I:265)
In the passive construction the Verbiage realized by a deverbal abstract nouns
also functioned as the Subject:
The connection is spelt out in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle's entry for 1118. (I:136)
In the surface structure of relational attributive sentences the Carriers expressed
by abstract nouns were realized as Subjects. Consider:
The growth of population meant an increasing demand for food. (I:189)
The territorial organization of the Church became, as it were, frozen in its twelfth-
century state. (I:178)
The earliest reference to the ex-cheque dates from 1110. (I:166)
The basic outline of the English economy in 1086 emerges very clearly from the
repetitive laconic phrases of Domesday Book. (I:181)
This administration began as a military regime <…>(I:195)
Although Attributes are typically predicatives, the Attribute was also realized
as Subject in sentences like:
Characteristic of all these taxes was that someone else's consent was required <…>
(I:170)
Internal political fragmentation and separation from England were the result. (I:222)
The Existent expressed by a noun phrase with a deverbal abstract noun at the
head only functioned as the Subject. Consider:

52
There were undoubtedly striking improvements in ship design <…> (I:182)
But even in the most prolific period of legislation there was no attempt to codify
English law <…> (I:154)
There followed Edward's conquest and a massive programme of castle building.
(I:157)
The Range realized by deverbal abstract nouns functioned as the Subject in both
active and passive clauses. Cf.
The damage was done while he was held captive in Germany. (I:147)
Attempts to implement Magna Carta only led to further quarrels. (I:151)
Naturally attempts were made to farm the existing arable more intensively. (I:186)
Other, less common semantic roles were expressed by Locative, Temporal and
Eventive Subjects. Consider:
As the proceedings of the parliament of 1290 make clear it was above all else the
king's need for taxation which stimulated this development. (I:172)
But close study of the much more fragmentary evidence for the period around 1100 has
demonstrated that ( ...) (I:160)
His reign was the climax of Lancastarian England. (I:228)
The first two and a half years of Stephen's reign passed peacefully enough <…>
(I:138)
Direct object
The direct object typically denotes an animate or inanimate participant affected
by an action, or directly involved in an action (without being an Agent or a Recipient).
The corpus examined exhibited numerous instances of the Affected function realized as
the Direct Object by deverbal abstract nouns. Consider:
<…> he was granted his father's other major acquisition (…) (I:145)
<…> his elder brother had left him a ready-made court and administration <…>
(I:132)
An Effected direct object is an object whose referent exists only by virtue of the
activity indicated by the verb, i.e. the referent is a result of the action denoted by the
verb. In the corpus analyzed the Effected function was realized as the Direct Object by
deverbal abstract nouns. Consider:
Henry V’s spectacular victories enabled … the acquisition of estates in northern
France <…> (I:216)
Recipient direct object:
Not only did Henry agree that he would finance the island's conquest <…> (I:153)

53
In some processes of affectivity the Experiencer was realized as the Direct
Object by a nominal word combination including deverbal abstract nouns:
The condition of France encouraged his dreams of conquest. (I:228)
The deed shocked Christendom and secured Becket's canonization <…> (I:145)
The Phenomenon was also realized as the Direct Object by abstract nouns.
Consider:
<…> to acknowledge his territorial gains(I:157)
Henry III accepted the loss of most of his Continental possessions. (I:157)
Where we know the occupations of their inhabitants <…> (I:185)
The Verbiage realised by abstract nouns typically functioned as the Direct
Object:
In the early days many Englishmen were able to offer their submission <…> (I:121)
<…> he issued a charter of liberties denouncing his brother’s oppressive practices
and promising good government. (I:132)
The Carrier was also realized as the Direct Object in the corpus examined.
Consider:
<…> though the coastal traffic in coal from the Tyne Valley and the neighbourhood of
Swansea reflected its growing domestic and industrial use. (I:208)
The Attribute in attributive and possessive relational processes was realized as
the Direct Object by abstract nouns:
<…> who represented the central administration of a great estate. (I:190)
Geoffrey was to have the acquisition, Brittany. (I:145)
A frequent type of object, the Range Direct object, typically had the form of a
deverbal noun preceded by a common verb of general meaning, such as do, give, have,
make, take or derived from the same verb (cognate). This object is semantically an
extension of the verb and bears the major part of the meaning. Consider:
But no contemporary makes the charge <…> (I:132)
<…> he received the injury from which he died. (I:127)
He rode to Winchester and took possession of the treasury. (I:131)
The Direct Object realized by abstract nouns also had a Locative role:
Most of those who entered the religious life did so because they chose to. (I:178)
Indirect object
The inherent participant role characteristic of the Indirect Object was the
Recipient, corresponding to a paraphrase with to:

54
Moreover, the absences of king on campaign <…> posed serious question to a
sophisticated administration under the personal direction of the king. (I:205)
This Scottish intervention was a severe shock to the English government. (I:197)
The Phenomenon Indirect Object was also realized by deverbal abstract nouns.
Consider:
No one in England seems to have been aware of their existence <…> (I:133)
Moreover, the rebels were disillusioned by the political mismanagement <…> (I:218)
After men came to terms with the psychological shocks of the plague visitations <…>
(I:216)
The text examined exhibited some instances of deverbal abstract nouns as
Affected Indirect Objects:
<…> in particular they were expected to deal with serious offences. (I:173)
<…> the defendant might opt for trial by jury. (I:175)
The Agent Indirect Object expressed by deverbal abstract nouns typically
occured in passive constructions:
For example, one of the surviving documents produced by Henry II's administration, is
the delightfully named ‘Roll of Ladies, boys and girls’. (I:164)
The Verbiage Indirect Object was also realized by abstract nouns:
He presented the bishops with a clear statement of the kings customary rights over the
Church <…> (I:144)
The Attributive Indirect object was also realized by deverbal abstract nouns in
the corpus examined:
Territorial expansion in the Highlands was matched by internal development in the
Lowlands. (I:158)
The analysis of the corpus showed that the Sayer participant was realized as the Indirect
Object expressed by abstract nouns in passive constructions:
The last revolt before 1450 to be justified by the usurpation of 1399 <…> (I:228)
Subject and Object Complement
The typical semantic role of a Subject Complement and an Object Complement
was that of the Attribute. Consider the most prominent examples found in the corpus
analysed:
Almost certainly this had not been William's original intention. (I:121)
Scotland proved a persistent and expensive irritation after English claims were
thwarted by determined and united resistance by the Scots.(I:197)

55
With Henry’s help he obtained<…>. Roger of Salisbury's acceptance of his claim to
be king. (I:138)
But what turned these irritations into rebellion was the dislocation of unsuccessful war
<…> (I:207)
<…> the statute of 1499 attributed the need for change to abuse rather than to
expansion itself. (I:246)
These facts <…> turned difficulties into a struggle for reform and advancement.
(I:203)
The Carrier subject complement occured in reversible constructions which
included deverbal abstract nouns. Consider:
Thus the immediate consequence was the physical expansion of settlement and
cultivation. (I:185)
A further factor was the emergence in the fourteenth century of London as the settled
capital of the kingdom.(I:248)

2.2.2. Syntactic functions of non-inherent participants


The Instrumental function was realized as the Subject by deverbal abstract
nouns both in active and passive clauses. Cf.
To some extent, forward planning of the royal itinerary helped; <…> (I:161)
<…> his actions had helped to maintain peace and order in Scotland. <…> (I:155)
But a man's acquisition (…) could more easily be used to provide for other members of
his family. Thus England, the Conqueror's vast acquisition, was used to provide for his
younger son, William. (I:127)
Less typically, we found Instrumental Direct Objects, expressing roles which
are otherwise associated with adverbials:
The pope was induced to threaten excommunication against any who ‘attempts
anything prejudicial against the right of our Crown’ <…> (I:220) vs. threatened with
excommunication
The Instrumental Indirect Object was also realized by deverbal abstract nouns:
<…> the government resorted to racial and cultural separation, even persecution, by
a series of enactments <…> (I:197)
<…> it was being replenished by forfeitures and reversions to the Crown. (I:167)
Another non- inherent participant role characteristic of the Indirect Object was
the Beneficiary, corresponding to a paraphrase with for:
<…> as soon as he had raised enough money and arranged for the secure government
of all his dominions (I:147) (material; Beneficiary)

56
2.2.3. Adverbial functions of abstract nouns
Circumstantial functions were generally realized as adverbials at the syntactic
level. The following are the examples of different circumstantial functions realized as
adverbials comprising deverbal abstract nouns:
But the need for stability went far beyond Henry VII’s accession and marriage. (I:266)
(extent)
<…> the Empress seemed to be in Stephen's grasp <…> (I:139)(spatial location)
These claims led to intervention in Nantes (I:143)(goal)
In the short run the king had gained from the quarrel. (I:131)(source)
These developments suggest that royal revenues reached new high levels during
Richard's and John's reign. (I:169)(temporal location)
This informal power system was often reinforced by the appointment of members of the
household to local offices. (I:160)(means)

2.2.4. Modifier function of deverbal abstract nouns


On the basis of the linguistic data collected, two main positions of deverbal abstract
nouns in a clause can be pointed out: modifier of the noun phrase (as attributive adjunct)
and as head of the noun phrase. Cf.
At Edward I’s accession this prosperous wine-producing province was England's only
remaining French territory<…> (I:198)
<…> yet within a few months of his accession Rufus found himself opposed by a
powerful coalition of great barons. (I:128)
The analysis of the corpus showed a considerable number of deverbal abstract nouns
functioning as modifiers within the noun groups. In our study this type accounted for
20.1 percent of all cases of the usage of deverbal abstract nouns.
The most frequent pattern of the use of deverbal abstract nouns in the attributive adjunct
function was that of the abstract noun in post-modifying position, whereas abstract
nouns in pre-modifier position were rare. Cf.
But there was as yet no acknowledged rule of succession <…> (I:221)
From then on, the succession problem dominated the politics of the reign. (I:136)

2.2.5. Referential function of deverbal abstract nouns


One of the functions of nominalization is that of providing a link between parts
of a text, i.e. the verb phrase in the preceding sentence is substituted for by a noun

57
phrase containing a derived abstract noun in the subsequent sentence. The following
sentences provide some examples of deverbal abstract nouns performing this function:
By 1213-14 John had accumulated some 200,000 marks. But these large
accumulations were soon spent. (I:169)
If an innocent man came to doubt the ordeal's efficacy… Once raised, these doubts
could not be stilled. (I:175)
Welshmen were distrusted by the English, despite Edward I's conquest; uprisings
culminating in Owain Glyndwr's rebellion seemed to justify this distrust and recall
prophecies that foretold of the expulsion of the English from Wales. (I:192)
However, the instances of the referential function of deverbal abstract nouns denoting
the process in the preceding text in our study were rare.
Summing up what has been said about the use of deverbal abstract nouns, it
should be pointed out that the syntactic potential of this grammatical category is not
limited to certain syntactic functions. In the corpus of our study we found cases of all
syntactic functions realized by deverbal abstract nouns. The frequency of realization of
different semantic functions by abstract nouns is presented in Table 3.

Table 3. The relative frequency of occurrence of syntactic functions realized by deverbal


abstract nouns
Syntactic function Relative occurrence
Subject 35.6%
Direct object 23.7%
Indirect object 6.9%
Subject complement 4.6%
Object complement 0.3%
Adverbial 28.8%
Attributive adjunct 20.1%

58
CONCLUSIONS

Inspection of the linguistic evidence drawn from a scientific discourse text allows us to
make the following observations:
• deverbal abstract nouns were used in clauses of all types of processes, the most
frequent being material and relational types;
• the semantic potential of deverbal abstract nouns was not limited to specific
semantic functions as they were used to perform a full range of semantic functions
in the clause; the most frequent semantic roles expressed by deverbal abstract nouns
were those of the Circumstance, the Carrier and the Affected;
• deverbal abstract nouns were employed to perform the same syntactic functions in
the clause as nouns in general; the most frequent syntactic functions expressed by
deverbal abstract nouns were those of Subject, Adverbial (as part of prepositional
noun phrase) and Direct Object;
• there were two main positions of deverbal abstract nouns in a clause: modifier of the
noun phrase (as attributive adjunct) and head of the noun phrase; the prevailing
majority of the abstract nouns in the corpus were in the head of the noun phrase
position; the most frequent pattern of use of deverbal abstract nouns in the
attributive adjunct function was that of the abstract noun in post-modifying position,
whereas the cases of abstract nouns in pre-modifier position were rare;
• the instances of the referential function of deverbal abstract nouns substituting for
the verb phrase denoting the process in the preceding text were rare.

59
SUMMARY IN LITHUANIAN

Šiuo darbo tikslas - ištirti veiksmažodinių abstrakčių daiktavardžių galimybes išreikšti


semantines ir sintaksines funkcijas sakinyje. Nors nominalizacija vertinama kaip
svarbus anglų kalbos aspektas, veiksmažodinių abstrakčių daiktavardžių naudojimo
sakinyje ypatumai bei jų galimybės išreikšti semantines ir sintaksines funkcijas sakinyje
iki šiol mažai tyrinėti. Šiame darbe nagrinėjama veiksmažodinių abstrakčių
daiktavardžių kaip nekongruentinės proceso išraiškos formos sąvoka, pateikiama teorinė
semantinių ir sintaksinių funkcijų sakinyje apžvalga, bei, remiantis lingvistine tyrimo
medžiaga, analizuojamos veiksmažodinių abstrakčių daiktavardžių semantinės funkcijos
ir jų sintaksinė išraiška sakinyje. Tyrimo metodologinis pagrindas – sisteminės
funkcinės lingvistikos teorija, interpretuojanti sakinį semantiškai kaip proceso išraišką.
Tyrimu, paremtu mokslinio diskurso teksto analize, nustatyta, jog veiksmažodiniai
abstraktūs daiktavardžiai buvo naudojami visų proceso tipų sakiniuose; šia gramatine
kategorija buvo išreiškiamos visos semantinės ir sintaksinės funkcijos sakinyje, tačiau
pastebėti statistiniai tam tikrų funkcijų išraiškos skirtumai; abstrakčiais daiktavardžiais
buvo išreiškiamos visos sakinio sintaksinės funkcijos; viena iš būdingiausių šios
kategorijos funkcijų sakinyje – modifiacinė, t.y. abstraktaus daiktavardžio naudojimas
pažyminio vaidmenyje; referentinė veiksmažodinių abstrakčių daiktavardžių funkcija
analizuojamame tekste pasireiškė retai.

60
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