A Nominalization in NLP is a word which pretends to be a noun but is not tangible; in other words you could not place your hand on communication, or a relationship, but these words are used as if they are nouns and hard real ‘things’.
It can be a verb or another process word that has been formed into an abstract noun. In other words a process that has been turned into a solid ‘thing’.
Note: there are 2 simple tests that can be used to determine if a word or expression is a nominalisation:
* the wheelbarrow test: if you can put it into a wheelbarrow, it is NOT a nominalisation. E.g. A drink is a noun, but it is not a nominalisation… as it is tangible, it can be put into a wheelbarrow and carried around. Quality control fails the wheelbarrow test and is a nominalisation.
* If the word continuous can be put in front of the noun and still make sense. E.g. improvement becomes continuous improvement, hence improvement is a nominalisation. (The fact that continuous can be added indicates that there is a dynamic aspect to this static element).