LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||09/ABR/2006 8:07 AM|
|Assunto:||French girls students?|
I found the following at www.longman.com. Note the sentence near the bottom of this page in bold red.
Nouns as modifiers
Is there any logical reason why we should say "sports magazine" and not "sport magazine"? There seems to be no semantic reason for doing so. I can cope with the use of scientific terminology (i.e., "anaesthetic/anaesthetics" as adjectives), but am lacking any feasible explanation in this case.
In Helen’s example, the noun "magazine" is described by another noun, "sports." Traditionally, we have learned to put this noun modifier in an "adjective" form, which would make it singular, and therefore, logically, "sport magazine." Yet "sport magazine" is not the form in frequent current use. Helen notes exceptions in terms of scientific phrases, but exceptions come from all areas, not only science. The way we form this kind of noun compound (using one noun as a modifier for another) is not consistent and could be described as "in transition."
Not very long ago, there was almost a rule that a noun, when used as an adjective, appears in its singular form, as adjectives do, in such examples as “apple tree,” “vegetable soup,” and “toy factories.” We had, and have: “shoe departments”, “school boards,” and “stock markets.” These days we know “parts departments,” “schools superintendents,” and “options markets.” The Sunday New York Times lists both “antique show” and “antiques show,” on the same page. What’s going on?
Quirk says that "the plural attributive construction is on the increase…" (Quirk et al., A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Longman, 1985, pp. 1333–1334.) (Quirk’s terminology of "attributive noun" is my "noun modifier.")
Quirk lists various situations in which the noun modifier tends to be in the plural, including situations when:
1. the singular form might lead to ambiguity
the Holiday Books issue of The New York Times, in December 2000
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In section 2.10 of Longman English Grammar, I found "When two nouns are used together to to form a compound noun, the first noun (noun modifier) usually functions as an adjective and is nearly always in the singular."
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