Date: Wed, 9 Aug 1995 06:45:59 -0500

From: jeffrey howard allen jhallen[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]INDIANA.EDU

Subject: e-mails re: interim report (interim report) (fwd)

I had indicated in a message that "e-mail" can be used adjectivally, as

the modifier of a noun, but I would fully agree with the statement below

that it is part of a noun-noun compound. It is simply the problem with

English that two different kinds of pre-nominal words can modify the head

noun, these being adjectives and nouns. It just so happens that

everybody in the world's grammar teacher always say that adjectives

modify nouns, so I end having to invent a new way with my engineering

technical writers that main nouns can be modified by two either nouns or

adjectives. This is evident from the two following examples:

engine oil

Noun Noun

hydraulic oil

ADJ Noun

I said that "e-mail" acts adjectivially with "message" in the sense of

"engine oil" above because it functions in a way that most people

(non-linguists) would label an adjective.

Due to this problem that I deal with at work all the time for our

translation system, I have come up with a list of tests for nouns,

adjectives, verbs, adverbs and prepositional phrases that can be used by

any ordinary person to do simple sentence parsing.

From these tests, "e-mail" is either a main Noun or a Verb and can be a

Noun used to modify another noun (I call them secondary nouns for my public).

That's just simply a laymen's way of explaining the term "pre-nominal

modifier. Like I said, my writers having engineering and mechanical

backgrounds; they weren't English or linguistics majors.


---------- Forwarded message ----------

Date: Tue, 8 Aug 1995 11:48:40 EDT


Subject: Keep those e-mails coming in (interim report)

So far, the majority shares my conservative dialect in

which e-mail is a mass noun or verb but not a count noun. (Incidentally, in

response to Bethany and I think someone else, I'd argue that in "an e-mail

message", 'e-mail' is not an adjective but a noun within a noun-noun compound,

exactly as 'water' in "water torture" or 'milk' in "a milk bath". There's

little evidence if any that such modifiers are adjectives, although they cer-

tainly share semantic and syntactic properties with adjectives. But then so

do PPs as in "an in-your-face response". Pre-nominal modifer, si; adjective,