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CaGEL* explains the concept of "indirect complements" on page 443 as follows:

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If it's the complement of a noun, be it direct or indirect, it's part of a noun phrase (NP) headed by the noun, right? So, all three underlined "indirect complements" must be part of the respective NPs.

Now, regarding [8ii], CaGEL adds this:

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Here, we have this year added between so great a loss and that we're likely to go bankrupt, thereby rendering the latter (previously an indirect complement in [8ii]) not within the NP, as duly noted in the second quote above.

Now I wonder whether the "indirect complement" of a noun should be treated as part of the NP in the first place. The sole reason for construing it as part of the NP, I think, is because "the licensor is another dependent of the head (or part of one)."

But the licensor of the quoted example sentence including the intervening this year is so (i.e., part of another dependent of the head), and yet in this example sentence, the content clause (that we're likely to go bankrupt) is considered outside the NP, which means it's not a complement anymore, direct or indirect.

So my question is whether there is such a thing as the "internal complement" of a noun in the first place.

EDIT

@BillJ suggested:

Where the indirect complement is outside the NP due to an intervening adjunct like "this year", the content clause is still labelled as a complement (an indirect one) since it is licensed by the head of the earlier NP.

Here's how CaGEL defines a complement of a noun (page 439):

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That is, both complements and modifiers are internal dependents, which are by definition "contained within nominal constituent".

Given this, I wonder how @BillJ can call the content clause "a complement" when the content clause is not "contained within nominal constituent".

*The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language by Huddleston & Pullum

  • Just because an indirect complement can sometimes occur later in the clause (i.e. outside the NP) doesn't mean that NPs don't have internal dependents. In [8] ii, the content clause is in construction with the head and together they form a constituent. The content clause is thus an internal dependent within the NP, like any other complement or modifier. What else could it be? Where the indirect complement is outside the NP due to an intervening adjunct like "this year", the content clause is still labelled as a complement (an indirect one) since it is licensed by the head of the earlier NP. – BillJ Apr 23 '18 at 7:44
  • @BillJ Please see my edit. – JK2 Apr 23 '18 at 8:06
  • JK2 / @Araucaria Complements must always be licensed -- that's the crucial thing about them, and what separates them from adjuncts. The content clause "That we're likely to go bankrupt" is a complement because it is licensed by "so". The fact that it's not contained within the NP is the precise reason that H&P describe it as being "further delayed so that it occurs later in the clause rather than within the NP". Is that clear now? – BillJ Apr 23 '18 at 15:48
  • To be clear, in my first comment, I said "... licensed by the head of the earlier NP". In this instance, however, the complement is licensed not by the head, but by a dependent of the head, in this case by "so". – BillJ Apr 23 '18 at 15:59
  • @BillJ Right. Being licensed not by the head noun but by so is why CaGEL uses the term "indirect complements". I know. That I'm not questioning. What I'm questioning is whether the content clause can be called a complement, direct or indirect, when it is not located within the NP, considering that CaGEL started out defining a complement (of a head noun) as an internal dependent (of a head noun). And your logic that the content clause is a complement as long as it's licensed by something inside the NP ignores this very definition of a complement. – JK2 Apr 23 '18 at 16:07

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