Plural adjective to avoid unintended meaning

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Tue Dec 24 23:18:20 UTC 2013

Here are some items that should be along the lines of "glasses" but drop the "s": bagpipe player, earphone holder, sunglass contacts, Edward Scissorhands.

"Glass case" sounds like the case is made of glass, so that could be a contributing factor to "glasses case."

I bet it's more complicated, though, and depends to an extent on the word used and on inter/intrapersonal variation.

Benjamin Barrett
Formerly of Seattle, WA

Learn Ainu!

On Dec 24, 2013, at 2:41 PM, Galen Buttitta <satorarepotenetoperarotas3 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

> I wonder what implications this has for morphological theory. In my Morphology class two semesters ago we talked of genitive phrases (e.g., "boat dock") as a compound word, in which the first element is typically a singular. (Examples like "glasses case" are still singular because "glasses" is thought of as singular.) But then there are counterexamples such as "numbers runner", "numbers station", and now "extras casting".
> Sent from my iPhone
>> On Dec 24, 2013, at 13:32, "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET> wrote:
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
>> Subject:      Re: Plural adjective to avoid unintended meaning
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> At 12/24/2013 09:35 AM, Arnold Zwicky wrote:
>>>> The transcript at
>>> "And so we had a wonderful casting, extra casting agent and also,
>>> you know, extras casting agent who brought us wonderful faces and
>>> we were able to see who we really, you know, could work with."
>>> "extra casting agent" is ambiguous, between a reading with "extra"
>>> as an adjective 'surplus' and "extra" as a noun referring t,o an
>>> actor.  "extras casting agent" has the noun.
>> An "extras-casting agent" would not confuse or bother me.
>> Joel

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