Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Nov 6 19:24:32 UTC 2013

> Somehow, "special-order" sounds completely fine

Maybe because it was originally a very frequent noun phrase ("That'll have
to be a special order"), and the verb could be interpreted as a mere
functional shift.

I suppose to "random-fire" might be interpreted similarly, but "random
fire" isn't (as yet) as familiar a phrase as "special order."

To "barefoot-run," however, has no hint of functional shift that I can see.

In Inglish, of course, the "scare hyphen"  is presumably being dropped from
all of these. Right now.


On Wed, Nov 6, 2013 at 1:51 PM, hw gray <hwgray at> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       hw gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: barefoot-run
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Wed, Nov 6, 2013 at 10:42 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at
> >wrote:
> > CNN says the NJ mall gunman "random-fired six shots."
> >
> > This kind of thing is a syntactical innovation rather than a series of
> > neologisms. So I'm sure that Arnold has already addressed it.
> >
> > FWIW, the first such construction I ever noticed was ca1976 when a clerk
> in
> > the campus bookstore said she'd have to "special-order" something for me.
> > It really sounded strange.
> >
> Somehow, "special-order" sounds completely fine, but the others are really
> *strange*, especially "barefoot-run"! It should be "barefootED-run." ;-)
> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
> come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
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