Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Noun Phrase Complexity in English


Part of Studies in English Language

  • Date Published: June 2014
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107015128

£ 67.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • This book explores noun phrase complexity in English, showing that it is best accounted for both by a linear and a hierarchical parameter: its length and its type of postmodifier(s). The study is methodologically unique in that it combines univariate and multivariate analyses in an investigation of four different syntactic variables. Drawing on more than three billion words of British and American data, Eva Berlage shows that the length and the structure of the NPs, along with language-external factors such as the regional variety of English, work as powerful determinants of the variation. On a theoretical level, the book reveals that the structural complexity of NPs cannot be sufficiently captured by (phrasal) node counts but that we need to incorporate the degree to which NPs are sentential. The book is designed for researchers and students interested in syntax, language variation, sociolinguistics, structural complexity and the history of English.

    • Provides a new definition of the syntactic complexity of noun phrases
    • Compares British and American English in the context of more and less complex noun phrases
    • Proposes a new methodology to account for noun phrase complexity which shows that univariate analyses and multivariate analyses should be combined
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Noun phrase complexity, syntactic weight, and related notions take center stage in the empirical literature on grammatical variation. Berlage's systematic and comprehensive study is required reading for all those who are in the business of measuring and interpreting these things.' Benedikt Szmrecsanyi, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107015128
    • length: 294 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • contains: 78 b/w illus. 64 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The variationist framework
    3. Methodology I: defining the syntactic complexity of NPs
    4. Methodology II: modes of data presentation, statistical procedures and electronic corpora
    5. Optional verb phrases in topic-restricting as far as constructions
    6. Word order variation involving the collocations take prisoner, hold prisoner and take hostage, hold hostage
    7. Word-order variation involving pre- and postposed notwithstanding
    8. Infinitival variation following help
    9. NP-complexity and change
    10. Conclusion and future directions.

  • Author

    Eva Berlage, Universität Hamburg
    Eva Berlage is Junior Professor of English Linguistics at the University of Hamburg, Germany.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.