The Contrastive Analysis of the Structure Inside the Noun Phrase


  • Dana Švenčionienė Kaunas University of Technology
  • Daiva Zavistanavičienė Kaunas University of Technology



noun phrase, element, grammatical relations, head noun, head-marked structure, dependent-marked structure


The article deals with some principles that regulate the order of the elements inside the noun phrase that refers to the grammatical subject. The position of the words inside the noun phrase is variable by their grammatical and semantic functions in Lithuanian and fixed in English. The English and Lithuanian languages differ as to whether their syntactic organisation in the noun phrase reflects grammatical relations of a head noun with an article, with a noun, with an adjective, with a numeral, with a clause, etc. in a head-marked structure, or the noun phrase comprises terms or phraseological units bearing figurative sense. In the English noun phrase, the position of the dependent elements is before the head noun they modify or they are expressed by means of postposition.

In Lithuanian the grammatical means of indicating grammatical relations in the noun phrase are endings and inflexional suffixes. Generally the flexibility of the word order within the noun phrase in Lithuanian is presented on the basis of morphological case marking. The dependent-marked structure of the determiners inside the noun phrase in English and Lithuanian sentences is a complex of interrelations between its elements. Thus, the semantic meaning of the sentence of the same content in the both languages can be expressed by the different order of its constituents although the order of the elements in the noun phrase can be different too.

Generally this study is concerned with the noun phrase, i.e., the grammatical subject that occurs only before the main verb in a clause in English, though the position of the corresponding noun phrase translated into Lithuanian can appear before or after the main verb, or the clause may correspond to the word order with the retained object.

The contrastive analysis of the noun phrase structure is based on the restrictive effects of grammatical and semantic meaning in reference to the syntactic interpretation.