Relating to a noun or to any word or word group that functions as a noun.
"As a noun, nominal is used for a constituent of a noun phrase intermediate in extent between a noun phrase and a noun. For example, in the noun phrase a nice cup of tea, it makes sense to say that nice is a modifier of cup of tea, rather than just the head noun cup. Hence we can say that cup of tea is a nominal, which is larger than a single noun but smaller than the whole noun phrase."
(Geoffrey Leech, A Glossary of English Grammar. Edinburgh Univ. Press, 2006)
Etymology:From the Latin, "name"
Examples and Observations:
- "In the system of parts of speech nouns originally included adjectives: hence, in particular, a nominal sentence or clause is one in which the predicative element is an adjective or noun phrase without a copula. Thus, exceptionally in English, Nothing easier! In some modern accounts, the categories noun and adjective are likewise said to share a feature [+ nominal]."
(P.H. Matthews, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics, 1997)
- Nouns and Pronouns
"A new referent is likely to be introduced first by a proper noun such as Vera or Mother, when the speaker expects the addressee to be able to identify the referent. Otherwise, a full nominal group containing descriptive information is used (a/the girl I met this morning at the Post Office). Subsequent mentions can be carried out by pronouns, which are 'lighter' than nouns and much lighter than extended nominal groups."
(Angela Downing and Philip Locke, English Grammar: A University Course. Taylor & Francis, 2006)
"All pronouns share the property of deixis, but differ from nominal expressions in that nominal expressions such as proper nouns always refer to the same elements in the real world, independent of the specific speaker context, while pronouns refer to various objects in the real world in a way that is dependent on the specific linguistic context of the utterance. Thus, the proper name Mozart usually refers to the same individual, irrespective of the linguistic context, while reference of a pronoun like he can only be determined from the context of the utterance, i.e., the man last mentioned, the individual pointed to by the speaker, etc."
(Hadumod Bussmann, Gregory Trauth, and Kerstin Kazzazi, Routledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics. Taylor & Francis, 1996)