bad-hair day OR bad hair-day?

Lynne Murphy lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK
Wed Jan 26 09:28:05 UTC 2000

> "First aid class"?  "Dead end street" ?  "Mad cow disease"? "Good time man"
> (from a popular record of 70s)? "New wave" song/music"?  PAT

But the argument isn't whether compounds are left branching or right branching,
since we can find examples of both.

silver (wedding anniversary)
euro (savings account)
(euro account) (application packet)
(minimum balance) requirement
European (Monetary Union)
(safe deposit) box

(I'm looking at a bank pamphlet, as you can tell.)

The argument seems to be what kind of evidence we can use to prove the
constituency of 'bad hair day', but I think Bob Haas might be write (if he's
suggesting as I think he is) that there's some idiolectal variation here.
Perhaps some people have parsed it one way and others the other way and so
the phrase means different things to different people.  (Hey, but my way is
the correct way!  Ha!)

always an American (English linguist)
but sometimes an (American English) linguist

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