3.3. Ordering of nodes in nominal groups (noun phrases)

In this section we describe guidelines for the ordering of sister nodes representing contextually bound and non-bound expressions whose governing node is a node representing a noun.

The surface word order of nominal groups is governed by word-order rules of Czech (e.g. agreeing attributes stand in the surface order before the noun, non-agreeing attributes after it), which are not related to the communicative dynamism - the word order in nominal groups is to a large extent grammaticalized. In the underlying word order, however, we reorder the modifications of a noun according to their increasing communicative dynamism.

The communicative dynamism of noun modifications relates closely to the tightness of the semantic relationship of the modifications to the noun. The tightness of the relationship of modifications to their governing noun is often signaled by morphology: as the tightest is perceived the nominative of identity, followed by modifications in the genitive, quite loose are agreeing adjectival modifications, and looser still are prepositional groups (phrases). In the case of dependent relative clauses, restrictive and non-restrictive clauses are perceived differently - non-restrictive relative clauses are the loosest noun modifications.

We suppose that for contextually non-bound modifications the following holds: the looser the modification is, the more communicatively dynamic it is; hence we order modifications from left to right according to the decreasing tightness. For the ordering of contextually non-bound noun modifications the following holds:

The ordering of contextually bound modifications of nouns is governed by the surface word order:

If there are several nodes within one type (1 - 7), we order them according to the surface word order, which is free within the individual types of modifications, and thus semantically relevant. If the position of nodes in the underlying word order is unchanged with respect to the surface word order, we leave unchanged also the relative order of nodes within individual types of nodes. If in the underlying word order we reorder nodes from before the noun to after it or vice versa, the underlying word order is the mirror image of the surface word order.