"Nouniness" LO24120

From: Eric Hatch (hocinc@earthlink.net)
Date: 03/06/00

Replying to LO24105 --

>English language that the "learning" before "organisation" is not a verb
> any more, but a noun which functions as an adjective (like "learned") by
> qualifying the noun "organisation".

One of the delights of English is that nouns turn into adejectives when
placed immediately in front of nouns. That is how we tell the difference
between a "glass eye" and an "eye glass."

But the further away one of these "created" adjectives is from the noun
it's intended to modify, the less we see it as an adjective, and the more
we see it like a noun in its own right. Whole strings of nouns in a row
create amazing (and sometimes uproarious) confusion.

So, the degree to which a word acts like a noun may be called "nouniness."
Nouniness is also determined by the word's ending. Some words function
happily as several parts of speech at once: leap, learning, and ski.
Some are doomed by their endings to be only adjectives: murderous, happy,
doltish. Others have endings that force them to be nouns: ranger,

When a word with an ending that marks it forever as a noun, say a word
ending in "ility" (maintainability, for instance) is forced to act as an
adjective by its position next to a noun, you get absurdities like this

"The Airframer's Conference this year will have much more of a
maintainability and reliability flavor."

I hope no reader loses sleep over this. The point is that in English
proximity, word order, and word endings ALL contribute to the meaning. No
wonder pidgin comes easily while eloquence is a lifetime's endeavor.

Eric Hatch, President
Hatch Organizational Consulting, Inc.
"Enabling Positive Change"

You can call us at 1 800 586 1487 or 513 683 2265
You can write us at

6812 Stagge Rd
Loveland, OH 45140

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Eric Hatch <hocinc@earthlink.net>

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