Arnold M. Zwicky zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU
Wed May 23 15:18:21 UTC 2007

a photographer being interviewed on KALW's Your Call 5/15/07:

   That's what my work is hoping to do.

this caught my attention, because it has an inanimate object (the
photographer's work) hoping to do something; on the other hand, it
wasn't hard at all to understand.  of course, it's a metonymy, with
the hoping transferred from the creator of the work to the work
itself.  here are some googled examples with various verbs of
intention and various types of artistic creations:


She changed her life, and that's what this book hopes to do, to let
you know that if you follow the road map that Jackie laid out, then
you can improve your ...

What this book hopes to do is add some further details to the story,
to supply some shading to the bare outlines, and perhaps above all to
try to bring back ...


Laudably, this work intends to do away with paradigms of Chinese
women as helpless victims, and pleads for the necessity to locate ... action/cjoGetFulltext?

What this work intends to do is something more delimited, to wit, to
present an interpetation of Marx's dialectics in connection with
scientific theories ...


Above all, this work tries to do too much. Any attempt to describe
the history of the myriad sectors of the Peruvian labor movement at
this point in our ... sici?sici=0003-1615(198310)40%3A2%3C296%3ATOOTPL%

In approaching any poetic work, you must first understand what the
work is trying to do. Poetry might espouse a teaching, but it needn't
do so.


this metonymic transfer is hard to get with inanimates in general:

   ?My bare feet hope to defy social constraints. 'I hope to defy
social constraints via my bare feet'

   ?This table tries to be unobtrusive. 'The maker/user of this table
tries to have it beunobtrusive'

these aren't impossible, but they take a lot of context.  they have
to be calculated in context.

the way i'm currently seeing the artistic-creation examples is that
this metonymy is conventionalized.  (there are, after all, other
cases of conventionalized metonymy, and these are known to vary from
language to language and culture to culture.)


The American Dialect Society -

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