No "damage"?

Arnold Zwicky zwicky at STANFORD.EDU
Mon Sep 12 15:48:11 UTC 2011

On Sep 11, 2011, at 10:59 PM, Wilson Gray wrote:

> "Possible discriminatory effects on non-speakers of Welsh are
> justified as acceptable collateral."
> Should be "collateral _damage__," right?
> Or maybe I've missed the point. The context is a discussion - in
> English, of course! - of ways and means to increase the "pro-active,"
> so to speak, use of Welsh among ethnic Welsh in Wales.

we can exclude the financial sense of "collateral" here, which would make this an instance of "nouning by truncation":

  Very commonly, adjectival modifiers are converted to nouns by truncation, with the Adj in an Adj + N phrase treated, at least historically, as a noun with (roughly) the meaning of the whole phrase.

(and mentioned in many other postings).  i have dozens of examples in my files, and i haven't been systematically looking for them.  "attending" for "attending physician", "viral" for "viral video" (reported on ADS-L a while back), "Indian" for "Indian restaurant", and many many more.

stand-alone uses of "collateral" (for "collateral damage(s)") aren't easy to search for, because of the financial noun "collateral", but here's one:

  I don't know the owner, but this car had OEM 19s. The Mazda next to it suffered some collateral in the form of scratches on the door.


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