Nominalization = Gerund?

Degred

New Member
Czech
Hello,

Im an ESL student who is writing his university paper and it is focused on "clausal condensation" in scientific prose and popular scientific texts. (how many of -ing non-finite forms are in the text, what is their function in teh sentence, what are the possibilities of their translations into the Czech language etc.) Im describing the difference between gerunds and present participles and I would like to ask if gerunds are "verbs functioning as nouns" i.e. if they went through the process of nominalization. Im confussed with terms "verbal" and "deverbal" nouns... I will have to analyse non-finite occurances in a practical part of the thesis, therefore I need to understand if the -ing form I see is either gerund or participle or if there is something tricky lurking around.

So.. in Fasting is dangerous for you, Fasting would be a gerundive non-finite structure functioning as a subject of the clause, right?

Thank you for your responses.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Fasting is dangerous for you, Fasting would be a gerundive non-finite structure functioning as a subject of the clause, right?
    Right. "Structure" seems an odd word to use, however, if you're only referring to the word "fasting". I'd call it a "gerund" and rest content with that.
     

    Degred

    New Member
    Czech
    Right. "Structure" seems an odd word to use, however, if you're only referring to the word "fasting". I'd call it a "gerund" and rest content with that.
    Thank you, yea.. it is an example that just crossed my mind. It is not taken from any textbook or so and since Im not a native speaker it probably sounds odd.
     

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Hi Degred, this is a very broad topic. As this is your field of study you may already have come across these references (i) and (ii) (emsa.ff.cuni.cz) by Dušková & Co. which discuss and differentiate what Slavic speakers call verbal and deverbals (we often just call them "gerunds") according to their functions. There's also a lengthy previous thread here ('Deverbal and verbal nouns') which may be helpful.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    I had never heard of 'verbals' and 'deverbals'* but I, too, am quite happy with Mr Owl's explanation - 'fasting' is a normal gerund, a verb form that functions as a noun.

    * EnquiringMind, do Slavic speakers use those in their (i.e. our) languages or do they (i.e. we) use them to describe some English grammar phenomenon? :)
     

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    do Slavic speakers use those in their (i.e. our) languages or do they (i.e. we) use them to describe some English grammar phenomenon?
    The Slavic languages. In terms of the English grammar phenomenon, it depends at what level of linguistic studies the subject is being discussed. At the kind of everyday grammar level here on WR and in most grammar books for learners of English, we talk about "gerunds", although academic linguists have written many papers discussing "verbal" and "deverbal" functions of -ing forms in English grammar. However when I refer to "gerunds" in respect of everyday Russian grammar, it is usually (quite correctly) pointed out (see #5 here, for example) that the term "gerund" (as we normally understand it in English to describe one grammatical function of the -ing form in English) doesn't reflect the distinction that Russian (and Czech - see the Dušková references above) grammarians make in their own languages for grammatical forms carrying out comparable syntactic functions.
     
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    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    As I understand it:

    The paintings hung in the hall -> deverballed noun - we can replace "paintings" by the 'real' noun 'photographs' or 'portraits', etc. There is nothing 'verbal' about the noun.

    The photographing and painting of the portrait had taken some time. -> verbal nouns -> these may be/are likely to be qualified by an adjective. -> The artistic photographing and painting ...

    Photographing and painting the portrait had taken some time -> gerunds -> these may be qualified by an adverb. -> Artistically photographing and painting ...

    (The latter two are debatable.)
     
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    SevenDays

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Hello,

    Im an ESL student who is writing his university paper and it is focused on "clausal condensation" in scientific prose and popular scientific texts. (how many of -ing non-finite forms are in the text, what is their function in teh sentence, what are the possibilities of their translations into the Czech language etc.) Im describing the difference between gerunds and present participles and I would like to ask if gerunds are "verbs functioning as nouns" i.e. if they went through the process of nominalization. Im confussed with terms "verbal" and "deverbal" nouns... I will have to analyse non-finite occurances in a practical part of the thesis, therefore I need to understand if the -ing form I see is either gerund or participle or if there is something tricky lurking around.

    So.. in Fasting is dangerous for you, Fasting would be a gerundive non-finite structure functioning as a subject of the clause, right?

    Thank you for your responses.
    The problem here is that terms such as "gerund," "participle," "deverbal" etc. come from Latin, and that's where they belong, not in modern English. Nonetheless, some linguists take the following approach:

    What's important is to differentiate the -ing word that is a verb from the -ing word that's been nominalized. "Nominalization" basically means that the -ing word appears with an article (the "nominalizing" agent) and optionally with an of-prepositional phrase: The painting hungs on the wall; The painting of my family hungs on the wall: The singing of the national anthem. Adding the plural making morphme -s also produces nominalization: Paintings hung on the wall. The implication of this is that the term "gerund" no longer applies because the -ing word is now a "noun."

    It's also important to distinguish the -ing verb from the -ing word that modifies a noun (verbs don't modify nous): a very troubling situation. We can call this adjectivization of the -ing word. But whereas the term "gerund" no longer applies in nominalization, the term "participle" still applies, even with adjectivization. The reason is that participles and adjectives have distinctive properties (adjectives take comparatives and superlatives; participles, don't.)

    In every other context (where there is no article and no modification of a noun), the -ing word is labeled " the gerund-participle" or simply an "-ing word." And that means that "fasting" in your example becomes the gerund-participle (or -ing word, if you prefer), just as "fasting" in We are fasting today is the gerund-participle. This is the approach taken by the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (CGEL), among others. This approach is based on morphology; in English, there's no inflectional difference between the terms "gerund" and "participle" as used by traditional grammar

    Now, some linguistics use the term "gerund" when talking about nominalization by function. In other words, a "gerund" is an -ing word that has a nominal/noun function, and that includes your example:

    (a) Fasting is dangerous for you ("fasting" functioning as subject, a nominal/noun function)
    (b) We are thinking of fasting tomorrow ("fasting" functioning as object of the preposition "of," a nominal/noun function)
    (c) I remember fasting on Tuesday ("fasting" functioning as direct object, a nominal/noun function)

    while "participle," for example, is the -ing word that appears in progressive constructions:
    (d) We are fasting.

    CGEL counters, however, that "fasting" in a-d is the same word (there's no morphological/inflectional difference), so it makes no sense to call "fasting" either "gerund" or "participle," even if the word appears in different functions (a-c vs d). If you want to use those terms, then "fasting" in a-d is the gerund-participle.

    In English, there's no "Academy" that governs the use of the language, so however you define "gerund" is, well, up to you. The only thing is, be consistent. That said, the advantage of the CGEL approach is its simplicity: if the -ing word doesn't have article, there's no nominalization; if the -ing word doesn't modify a noun. there's no adjectivization; as a result, what you have is the "gerund-participle." Simple. You might even say in your paper, "I'm using the terminology adopted by CGEL," so that your readers know exactly where you are coming from.
     
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    Degred

    New Member
    Czech
    Thank you for your response. So if it is not nominalization or adjectivization I should treat it as a gerund-participle? It is then either a gerund or a participle (I have to distinguish these in my paper where possible).
    The problem here is that terms such as "gerund," "participle," "deverbal" etc. come from Latin, and that's where they belong, not in modern English. Nonetheless, some linguists take the following approach:

    What's important is to differentiate the -ing word that is a verb from the -ing word that's been nominalized. "Nominalization" basically means that the -ing word appears with an article (the "nominalizing" agent) and optionally with an of-prepositional phrase: The painting hungs on the wall; The painting of my family hungs on the wall: The singing of the national anthem. Adding the plural making morphme -s also produces nominalization: Paintings hung on the wall. The implication of this is that the term "gerund" no longer applies because the -ing word is now a "noun."

    It's also important to distinguish the -ing verb from the -ing word that modifies a noun (verbs don't modify nous): a very troubling situation. We can call this adjectivization of the -ing word. But whereas the term "gerund" no longer applies in nominalization, the term "participle" still applies, even with adjectivization. The reason is that participles and adjectives have distinctive properties (adjectives take comparatives and superlatives; participles, don't.)

    In every other context (where there is no article and no modification of a noun), the -ing word is labeled " the gerund-participle" or simply an "-ing word." And that means that "fasting" in your example becomes the gerund-participle (or -ing word, if you prefer), just as "fasting" in We are fasting today is the gerund-participle. This is the approach taken by the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (CGEL), among others. This approach is based on morphology; in English, there's no inflectional difference between the terms "gerund" and "participle" as used by traditional grammar

    Now, some linguistics use the term "gerund" when talking about nominalization by function. In other words, a "gerund" is an -ing word that has a nominal/noun function, and that includes your example:

    (a) Fasting is dangerous for you ("fasting" functioning as subject, a nominal/noun function)
    (b) We are thinking of fasting tomorrow ("fasting" functioning as object of the preposition "of," a nominal/noun function)
    (c) I remember fasting on Tuesday ("fasting" functioning as direct object, a nominal/noun function)

    while "participle," for example, is the -ing word that appears in progressive constructions:
    (d) We are fasting.

    CGEL counters, however, that "fasting" in a-d is the same word (there's no morphological/inflectional difference), so it makes no sense to call "fasting" either "gerund" or "participle," even if the word appears in different functions (a-c vs d). If you want to use those terms, then "fasting" in a-d is the gerund-participle.

    In English, there's no "Academy" that governs the use of the language, so however you define "gerund" is, well, up to you. The only thing is, be consistent. That said, the advantage of the CGEL approach is its simplicity: if the -ing word doesn't have article, there's no nominalization; if the -ing word doesn't modify a noun. there's no adjectivization; as a result, what you have is the "gerund-participle." Simple. You might even say in your paper, "I'm using the terminology adopted by CGEL," so that your readers know exactly where you are coming from.
     
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    Degred

    New Member
    Czech
    Yes it is a difficult topic for Czech grammarians since we do not use non-finite clauses today (transgressives are very rare), we do not have gerunds at all, only deverbatives and we tend to use a finite subordinate clause instead of all non-finite clauses. Thank you for your reply, I know Duskova, it is my main secondary source and pretty much the only one focused on such profound morphosyntactical comparison between Czech and English.
    The Slavic languages. In terms of the English grammar phenomenon, it depends at what level of linguistic studies the subject is being discussed. At the kind of everyday grammar level here on WR and in most grammar books for learners of English, we talk about "gerunds", although academic linguists have written many papers discussing "verbal" and "deverbal" functions of -ing forms in English grammar. However when I refer to "gerunds" in respect of everyday Russian grammar, it is usually (quite correctly) pointed out (see #5 here, for example) that the term "gerund" (as we normally understand it in English to describe one grammatical function of the -ing form in English) doesn't reflect the distinction that Russian (and Czech - see the Dušková references above) grammarians make in their own languages for grammatical forms carrying out comparable syntactic functions.
     
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