[Ads-l] dead fucking boring - infix diagnostic

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Thu Feb 23 12:36:38 EST 2017


I am trying to figure out how it relates to this:
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/grammar/british-grammar/about-adjectives-and-adverbs/adjectives-order

DanG

On Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 11:40 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
wrote:

> Interesting issues here.  I think a couple of things are going on.  I
> don’t think we want to say “dead boring” is a single word.  For one thing,
> it’s not a compound and it doesn’t have the phonology of a single word.
> Rather, it’s one of many, or at several, cases in which an intensifying
> adverb must immediately precede the adjective it modifies.  Often there’s a
> collocation effect.  Other examples include:
>
> Dead ahead
> Stark naked
> Plumb crazy
> Real dumb (vs. “really dumb”, which doesn’t have the immediate adjacency
> constraint)
> Right ahead
> Pitch black (originally a compound, but reanalyzed for those who don’t
> know what “pitch” refers to; cf. the attested “pitch white”)
>
> These are different from “ice cold”, which is still, I think, a compound.
>
> Not unrelated are collocations of intensifier + noun, again not counting
> as a single word despite the difficulty of interruption:
> Rank stranger
> Sworn enemy
> Bosom buddy
> Flaming asshole
>
> For both classes, a diagnostic is ability to interrupt the sequence by a
> conjoined modifier or other material.  For me at least there’s a difference
> in pairs like
>
> He’s really, if I may say, certifiable/dumb/...
> #He’s real, if I may say, certifiable/dumb/…
>
> He’s really and totally dangerous
> #He’s real and totally dangerous
>
> But what *can* interrupt the sequence (at least in most of these cases) is
> the same material that works as an infix interrupting a word:  “fuckin(g)”,
> “bloody”, “damn”, etc.:
>
> He’s real fucking certifiable/dangerous
> You’re a rank fucking stranger
> Plumb fucking crazy
>
> and of course
> Dead fucking boring/ahead
>
>
> LH
>
>
> > On Feb 23, 2017, at 1:12 AM, Barretts Mail <mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM>
> wrote:
> >
> > Sorry, I think you’re saying that “dead boring” is two words.
> >
> > What I’m wondering is whether “fucking” can be used as a diagnostic to
> determine whether two elements such as these are a single word.
> >
> > Benjamin Barrett
> > Formerly of Seattle, WA
> >
> >> On 22 Feb 2017, at 17:54, Barretts Mail <mail.barretts at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >>
> >> It’s not clear to me, either, but it certainly feels and seems that
> way. Are there non-infixes that can go there? BB
> >>
> >>> On 22 Feb 2017, at 17:37, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> I think the occurrence of “bloody”, “fuckin(g)”, “damn”, etc. within a
> phonological/morphological word, as in “Massa[fuckin]chusetts”,
> “fan[damn]tastic” or “abso[bloody]lutely” are better candidates for infix
> status than “dead fucking boring”, since it’s not clear to me that
> “fucking” is an affix at all in the latter case.
> >>>
> >>> LH
> >>>
> >>>> On Feb 22, 2017, at 6:05 PM, Barretts Mail <mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM>
> wrote:
> >>>>
> >>>> “Fucking” and variations (blooming, bloody) are the few options for
> infixing in English.
> >>>>
> >>>> (Comic: http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=8463 <
> http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=8463>)
> >>>>
> >>>> Although it’s possible to parse “dead fucking boring” as “dead boring
> and fucking boring”, I’m inclined to parse “fucking” as an infix between
> the two. It, as well as “dead bloody boring”, comes up on Google.
> >>>>
> >>>> Here are some tests that don’t come up on Google:
> >>>>
> >>>> dead terribly boring (dead, terribly boring meaning dead and terribly
> boring is on Google)
> >>>> dead frighteningly boring
> >>>> dead jacked boring =? dead-jacked boring
> >>
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


More information about the Ads-l mailing list