Friday, November 18, 2011

Noun-noun modification rife with ambiguity

So I pulled up the local news site on my phone to check the weather and I see this headline
PA Governor defends PSU actions
Which ones? was my immediate reaction. The only one I can think of that's remotely defensible is firing Paterno.

Ah. He's actually defending his own actions concerning the PSU scandal.

That's the problem with noun-noun modification. There's simply no way to tell what the relationship is between them. Most of the time context sorts that out for us very nicely, but not always. "PSU actions" are clearly some sort of actions, but we only know that there is some sort of relationship with PSU.

At any rate, I expect the governor actually will have more than a few questions to answer...

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post

Links to this post:

Create a Link

     <-- Older Post                     ^ Home                    Newer Post -->