laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Sep 10 22:59:11 EDT 2018
> On Sep 10, 2018, at 9:51 PM, Charles C Doyle <cdoyle at UGA.EDU> wrote:
> This past weekend my 13-year-old grandson and I went to a high school football game, during which a rainstorm struck. As we sat watching wetly, I remarked, "I reckon the turf is getting all torn up." Grandson replied, "It isn't turf; it's grass."
> I realized that his sole association of the word "turf" is "artificial turf," from which his "turf" represents a clipping (or perhaps from "astroturf"). Cf. the orthopedic term "turf toe." So we now have the anomalous situation in which there exist two contrasting kinds of surfaces for a football or soccer field, referred to (respectively) as "turf" and "turf."
Great example! It’s not quite the same, but “sweetener” is typically taken to exclude “sugar”, which may also be thought of as “artificial” clipping. As a pragmatics experiment, I ask for “sweetener” every time I order coffee on an airplane and 17 straight times I’ve been handed an artificial sweetener (yellow, pink, or blue), never sugar. I also just picked up a pamphlet at my local supermarket entitled “Sugars and Sweeteners”; for another example, see https://alittlebityummy.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-low-fodmap-sugars-sweeteners/. I can imagine complaining to the flight attendant upon getting a white packet, “This isn’t a sweetener, it’s sugar!” (If I get the chance to try it, I’ll watch for their response.)
The difference is that I think most people would acknowledge under duress that sugar really is a sweetener, even if we don’t call it one (and even if asking for a sweetener implicates that we don’t want sugar), while many and possibly most people would deny that grass is turf. Maybe sort of like “square” vs. “rectangle”?
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