Preview Mode

Grammatical metaphor: Nominalization

Introduction to compression

Introduction

With lexical metaphor we compress more information into a statement by using words from a different context. (“I burned for revenge.”)

There’s another kind of metaphor, though, called grammatical metaphor.

Honestly, grammatical metaphor is really hard to explain, it's another way of compressing information, and you find it a lot in history and science texts.

One way we do this is though a technique called nominalisation, where we treat events like things.

Here's a snippet with three examples of nominalisation. Can you find them?

Communications between the tribes of the New World were slow, and news of the Europeans’ barbarities rarely overtook the rapid spread of new conquests and settlements.

If you're confused, that's good. This is a big topic. Let's get to work.

Calvin reached over and took off her glasses. Then he pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped her tears. This gesture of tenderness undid her completely, and she put her head down on her knees and sobbed.

A Wrinkle in Time Madeleine L'Engle