[Ads-l] "Lose complete control" and its ilk

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu May 25 11:16:37 EDT 2017


> On May 25, 2017, at 11:08 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> 
> The term mentioned previously was "hypallage".
> 
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/ads-l/2007-October/075227.html
> 
> [Begin excerpt from 2007 message]
> Cris Collinsworth on NBC, discussing a big fumble, remarked that "it
> turned the complete game around", i.e. turned the game completely
> around.
> 
> (In an earlier discussion over the summer re "dodged a narrow
> bullet", Arnold reminded us this is called or transferred
> epithets.  Somehow it strikes me as especially odd when the adverb
> transfer to modify a definite, as above.)
> [End excerpt]
> 
> Here is a link to a germane Language Log post by Arnold Zwicky:
> http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/005186.html
> 
> 

Thanks, Garson!  Exactly what I was trying to dredge up.  I suspected Arnold might have been involved, but I didn’t know how to find the relevant thread.  “No extramarital toes sucked”—how could I have forgotten?  And the trope I was trying to recall was indeed “hypallage”.  Well, I did remember it was Greek…

LH
 
> 
> On Thu, May 25, 2017 at 10:30 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
>> Has anyone encountered descriptions of these “transferred modifiers” in which “A-ly VERB +nominal” is expressed as “VERB A +nominal”?  I’m especially interested in the ones in which there’s a potential compositional or transparent meaning that happens not to be the one intended.  So, for example, we have these Google-attested cases:
>> 
>> “lost complete interest in my life/in the news/in smoking cigarettes/hobbies/career goals”
>> 
>> “lost total control of my life/my desktop/myself/the match/his power/his presidency/her faculties”
>> 
>> “lacks total understanding of the problem"
>> 
>> With the meaning ‘completely (totally) lost interest, control,…'
>> 
>> These are similar to a construction I think we’ve discussed in an antique thread, exemplified by “He raised an insouciant/inquisitive/expectant eyebrow”, meaning ‘He insouciantly/inquisitively/expectantly raised an eyebrow’, in that the eyebrow itself was not insouciant or expectant; this sometimes is employed self-consciously (and archly) as a figure of speech.  But the ‘complete/total control' case is especially interesting to me because in principle it *could* refer to losing *complete* control (while retaining partial control), but it doesn’t:
>> 
>> #I lost total control of my faculties, but fortunately I still have some control of them.
>> 
>> It’s not a question of total control (and lacking or losing it), but of totally lacking or losing control.
>> 
>> Can anyone point me to any discussion of these constructions?  I sort of recall someone supplied a (Greek?) name for the trope of the adverb-in-adjective-clothing in the case of insouciant eyebrow, but I can’t recall what the name was, or whether there was any specific focus on the “lose complete control” cases.
>> 
>> 
>> LH
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> 
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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


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