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From

今なお幼児と保育士8人を人質にこの保育園に立てこもっております

I'm assuming the bolded phrase is parsed as:

(幼児と保育士)(8人)を

where both "幼児と保育士" and "8人" are noun phrases.

Question: Why is no connective used to combine these two noun phrases (e.g. の)? Are they considered to be connected appositionally?

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For Determiner-Quantifiers you can follow one of these patterns (D-Quantifier examples: two students, a sailor, many sailors):

  1. QE + no + NP + CM
  2. NP + QE + CM
  3. NP + CM + QE

Where QE means Quantity Expression, NP means Noun Phrase and CM means Case Marker (postposition).

Add to that that you can shift quantifiers around (they float) to some degree, then you see that there really is not only one way to express quantities.

So in your case, it's construction 2.

NP + QE + CM

Nurse + 8 person + OBJ Marker

Be aware that you can't just swap any construction for the other at all times! For example, phrases describing amount like "takusan 'many', syoosuu 'small number', tasuu 'large number'" are not usable with construction 2 (NP+QE+CM).

  1. John wa takusan no hon wo yonda.
  2. *John wa hon takusan wo yonda.
  3. John wa hon wo takusan yonda.
    'John read many books.'

In this example, takusan ("many") is not compatible. An indicator is that those words not fitting for construction 2 can't be the argument of a verb independently:

*Takusan wo suisensita. ([someone] recommended small number/many)
San-nin wo suisensita. ([someone] recommended three)

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  • I'm assuming "保育士8人" is parsed as "(保育士)(8人)"? If so, why is no connective used between 保育士 and 8人? E.g. why isn't it written as "保育士の8人"?
    – George
    Sep 12 at 20:10
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    Parsingwise, OP is correct. NP is 幼児と保育士. Other examples: 乗員乗客26人; it can be mentioned separately like 乗客113人・乗員9人
    – sundowner
    Sep 12 at 22:24
  • @sundowner Thank you for the correction Sep 12 at 22:31

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