The number and length of noun phrases in a text is another factor that affects the readability of sentences. Nouns are content words, and noun phrases are groups of nouns. Noun phrasescan also contain adjectives, determiners and prepositions. Long noun phrases can cause problems because they are harder to process and understand than other ways of expression (e.g., verb compounds).Other than through the inclusion of prepositions, noun phrases do not contain any other obvious grammatical relationships between the words. This makes the phrases harder to understand, and can createambiguity. Consider the following example noun phrases, taken from published documents. Are all of these phrases easy to understand?
the business development network la red de desarrollo de negocios/ comercial
a tourism marketing development strategy una estrategia de desarrollo de marketing para el turismo
supply chain management gestión de la cadena de suministro / abastecimiento
riskmanagement process flows flujos del proceso de gestión de riesgos
a risk assessment analysis process un proceso de análisis de evaluación de riesgos / minimización de
the level of partner governmentownership el grado de propiedad del gobierno asociado
existing application lodgement facilities las instalaciones para el registro de las aplicaciones
multidisciplinary environmental managementconsultancies consultoras multidisciplinarias de gestión ambiental
the New Mexico Public Interest Research Group Grupo de investigación de interés público de Nuevo México
In order to illustrate thepossible ambiguities associated with noun phrases, consider the last noun phrase in the list above. Is it describing a new group in the country of Mexico, or is it describing a group based in the USstate of New Mexico? Does the group conduct research on issues related to the public interest, or does the group overview the research conducted by others in the interests of the public? We cannot be...