Head (Words)

Like third person pronouns these force us to refer back in the context to see what is being referred to. Some arrived this morning makes us ask 'Some what?', just as He arrived this morning makes us ask 'Who did?' But there is a difference. He stands in place of a whole noun phrase (e.g. the minister) while some is part of a noun phrase doing duty for the whole (e.g. some applications). . . .


"Most determiners occurring as heads are back-referring [that is, anaphoric]. The examples given above amply illustrate this point. However, they are not all so. This is especially the case with this, that, these, Property Management Video and those. For instance, the sentence Have you seen these before? could be spoken while the speaker is pointing to some newly built houses. He is then not referring 'back' to something mentioned, but referring 'out' to something outside the text [that is, exophora].""There are two main definitions [of head], one narrower and due largely to Bloomfield, the other wider and now more usual, following work by R.S.


Jackendoff in the 1970s.


1. In the narrower definition, a phrase p has a head h if h alone can bear any syntactic function that p can bear. E.g. very cold can be replaced by cold in any construction: very cold water or cold water, I feel very cold or I feel cold. Therefore the adjective is its head and, by that token, the whole is an 'adjective phrase.'


2. In the wider definition, a phrase p has a head h if the presence of h determines the range of syntactic functions that p can bear. E.g. the constructions into which on the table can enter are determined by the presence of a preposition, on. Therefore the preposition is its head and, by that token, it is a 'prepositional phrase.'"

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