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

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu May 25 14:25:48 EDT 2017

> On May 25, 2017, at 2:12 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> On Thu, May 25, 2017 at 11:16 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> wrote:
>>> 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…
> A bit more from me in 2009 (I included Arnold's "extramarital toes," of
> course)...
> https://www.visualthesaurus.com/cm/wordroutes/hyping-hypallage/
> —bgz
Very timely, including among its examples as it does the name of the surprise Preakness winner “Cloud Computing” (just nosing out “Extramarital Toes”, with “Wallet Biopsy” as an also-ran).

I wish, though, that there were a special term for the cases I brought up in which a garden path is more likely* (“lose complete control”, “lose total interest”, “lack complete control”), involving a category change in the modifier from manner adverbial to adjective, in the presence of a negative verb that falls within the scope of the following universalizing adjective.  I guess if I want such a term I’ll have to invent it.


*OK, I’ll grant that one could misparse “historical linguist”, “civil engineer”, or "three-valued logician” if one tried.  

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