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ERIC Number: ED426411
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Oct-10
Pages: 20
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
English Nominalization Paradoxes.
Hartnett, Carolyn G.
English nominalizations turn verbs and adjectives into nouns systematically, but their meanings can change unpredictably. In the United States, college composition handbooks urge students to avoid using nominalizations, but elsewhere secondary students learn to write them responsibly and to recognize being manipulated when reading them. Nominalizations abound in business, science, and humanities and in textbooks and handbooks because they organize, generalize, classify, shorten explanations, maintain group identity, and display unchallengeable authority. They develop and build on previous knowledge, yet their assumptions increase comprehension difficulties. Furthermore, they can hide relevant information harmful to the writer's position. They contribute to coherence and lexical density but present special problems for second language learners. Tabulations of nearly 2,400 nominalizations in five morphological patterns show varying proportions in the opening paragraphs of 216 articles in a wide range of current periodicals as well as in compositions by first-year students in a community college. The use of nominalizations raises questions for education, for government publications, and also for some forward-looking scientists. (Contains a table of data and 18 references.) (Author/NKA)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A