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"Before the Saturday kidnappings, professional associations and businesses in Port-au-Prince had called for an indefinite strike."

How many noun groups are in the bold clause? and what is the headword?

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    Mramohmd, we do expect on this site that you show your own work. Could you edit your question to explain your thoughts and where you get stuck exactly?
    – Keelan
    Oct 29 at 8:49
  • The head of a clause is always a verb phrase, and the head of a verb phrase is always a verb, so the head word of your sentence is the verb "had".
    – BillJ
    Oct 29 at 11:05
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Many approaches to syntax would view the finite auxiliary verb had as the head word of the entire sentence. The part in bold arguably contains four nominal groups (the Saturday kidnappings, professional associations, businesses in Port-au-Prince, and Port-au-Prince). The first part in bold is an adjunct prepositional phrase, i.e. before the Saturday kidnappings, and the second part in bold (after the comma) is the subject of the sentence, i.e. professional associations and businesses in Port-au-Prince. There are five nominal groups present (i.e. NPs or DPs depending on your theoretical assumptions) in the entire sentence. The head word of the prepositional phrase is the preposition before. The subject nominal group consists of two conjoined smaller nominal groups, i.e. professional associations and businesses in Port-au-Prince. The heads of these two nominal groups are associations and businesses, respectively, on an NP analysis.

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    kidnappings; associations; businesses; and Port-au-Prince would also be noun groups, even though they consist of only one word. Whether Saturday is to be included is debatable since it is used as an adjective.
    – Keelan
    Oct 29 at 9:12
  • Viewing kidnappings alone as a nominal group is problematic because it is part of the compound noun, i.e. Saturday kidnappings. Doing so would necessitate that one also view Saturday as a nominal group. One could debate that analysis, for it depends on how one wants to view compounds. But your right about Port-au-Prince being a nominal group. I will correct my answer now. Thanks. Oct 29 at 9:28
  • Yeah, if you take it as a lexicalized compound noun it is just Saturday kidnappings that is the NP. But at least historically the structure would have been [NP [AdjP Saturday] [NP kidnappings]].
    – Keelan
    Oct 29 at 9:30
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    Why would one ever want to view Saturday as an adjective? In a compound perhaps it functions like an adjective, but it is clearly a noun in most environments. Oct 29 at 9:42
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    No matter the analysis of compounds, kidnappings, associations, and businesses are all NPs.
    – Keelan
    Oct 29 at 9:43

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