Fwd: Re: [ADS-L] metonymy-TRY

Clai Rice cxr1086 at LOUISIANA.EDU
Mon May 28 14:22:59 UTC 2007

Marianne Hundt's new book from Rodopi discusses the "mediopassive" (aka
passives) and its related constructions in detail (ergative/inchoative,
get-passives, reflexives). What she brings new to the table is a corpus
constructed from Sears-Roebuck catalogs and other advertising sources,
which describes a greater reach for the construction than has previously
been discussed:
        The lightweight aluminum pole telescopes from 39-to-70 inches
        [air cleaner]...does not wall mount.
        Door mirrors fluch-mount with clips.
        ...sleepwear that machine washes.
        ...accent pillows which spot clean only.
        Chair adjusts with wooden pegs into four reclining positions.
        Heat sensitive material molds to your body shape.
        ...an uncommitted theta-role may assign freely to any available
GF (not from Sears Roebuck!)

I haven't finished the book yet so I can't say what her results are


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Laurence Horn [mailto:laurence.horn at YALE.EDU]
> Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2007 11:41 AM
> Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: [ADS-L] metonymy-TRY
> At 10:54 AM -0400 5/26/07, Marc Sacks wrote:
> >How does this relate to an object's taking on an action that someone
> >does
> >*to* the object, as in "This book reads very well"? That
> case has always
> >stumped me; there must be a name for it.
> >
> Current practice is to call it "the middle (construction)".
> It's also known as "the patient subject construction".  An
> early treatment is in a lovely paper by Anna Granville
> Hatcher--'Mr. Howard Amuses Easy', in the 1943 volume of
> Modern Language Notes, and generative linguists began
> worrying about it in around 1977 with CLS papers by George
> Lakoff and Jeanne van Oosten, and later work by Keyser &
> Roeper, Fellbaum, Fagan, and others in the 1980s.  It's
> rather different from the metaphorical/metonymic cases we
> began with, since those involve inanimate agents, while the
> middles involve patients, with an agent "understood" but not
> expressed.  Crucially in your case there's a (generic or
> arbitrary) reader involved.  Other much cited examples are
> Shakespeare translates easily.
> This is selling like hotcakes.
> The salami didn't cut easily.
> --all involving an unexpressed but conceptualized agent.
> That's not the case with the Washington or Albany examples.
> LH

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

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