039 Dissolving noun clusters

In all but the most formal, academic and technical of styles it is often best to avoid clusters of nouns, at least until the reader is familiar with the combination of ideas involved.  Instead, use prepositions to link the nouns. The prepositions add clarity to the phrase—they show more fully how the nouns relate to one another—and the meaning of your words becomes more readily apparent. 

The problem with noun clusters is that they can often be rather ambiguous . Add an adjective to the mix and they can be quite impenetrable. Brevity and clarity are not always compatible, and clarity is normally preferable.
Sometimes called noun stacksnoun strings, or noun compounds, noun clusters can shut down your comprehension even if you understand each word.

For example, „aged dog meat samples“ could mean samples of aged meat fed to dogs, samples of aged meat from the bodies of dogs, aged samples of meat from the bodies of dogs, aged samples of meat fed to dogs or samples of meat from the bodies of aged dogs…

Little words like ‚how‘ and ‚way‘ can sometimes be used to make Czech noun clusters sound more natural in English. See also Reseni

Another example with solutions from Czechlist here.

V závěru pak navrhuje pojmovou i věcnou typologii organizace vydávání samizdatové literatury v 70. a 80. letech.

The conclusion proposes a conceptual and objective typology of the ways in which samizdat literature publication was organized in the 1970s and 1980s.

Studie provádí rekonstrukci geneze Povídek malostranských. Zohledňuje přitom zejména fenomén volby konkrétního periodika pro prvotní otištění jednotlivých čísel budoucího knižního souboru.

This study reconstructs the origins of Povídky malostranské, reflecting in particular the way specific periodicals were selected for the initial publication of individual issues of the future book collection.

Some strategies:

Rearrange the words
Convert some nouns to verbs                                                                                             Remove some redundant lead-in words                                                                           Pluralize or singularize when necessary
Add hyphens and other punctuation                                                                                           Add prepositions                                                                                                                          Add little words like ‚way‘ and ‚how‘ 

  • batch high performance computing facility 

  • service level agreement achievement percentage

  • business computing solution areas

  • security policy orchestration software

  • business process improvement methodologies

  • cloud service orchestration workflows

  • online real time cloud data landscape view

  • network services provisioning process

  • remote encryption passphrase reset

Check out these alternatives to some of the above examples.

  • a high-performance, batch-computing facility

  • the percentage of service-level agreements achieved

  • areas [types?] of business-computing solution

  • software that orchestrates security policies

  • methodologies that improve business processes

  • workflows that orchestrate cloud services
  • a landscape view of real-time online data in the cloud
  • the process of provisioning  services on the network
  • resetting the encryption of the remote passphrase

Some of these required a little guesswork, but you get the idea.

More examples:

A system necessitated automated motor starting circuitA 4 month secretory cell produced mucosal accumulation historyThe negative penicillin skin test result groupBlue absorbing pigment spectral curveClimate controlled gene cluster phenotype variationTwo dimensional real time ultrasonographic blood flow detection techniquesA calibrated transit time ultrasonic blood flow probe cable end An automated motor-starting circuit required by the systemA 4-month history of accumulation of mucosa produced by secretory cellsThe group with negative results on the penicillin skin testSpectral curve for blue-absorbing pigmentClimatically controlled variation in gene-cluster phenotypeUltrasonography techniques that detect blood flow in two-dimensional real timeThe cable end from an ultrasonic blood-flow probe calibrated to measure transit time ultrasonically


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