Author Topic: Surprisingly literal compound words in the English language  (Read 1283 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline brilligtove

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4602
  • Ignorance can be cured. Stupidity, you deal with.
    • Valuum
Re: Surprisingly literal compound words in the English language
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2017, 06:15:34 AM »
I tossed that one in for the lols, so I didn't expect to see a linguistic definition of a compound word as a response. Neat. :)
evidence trumps experience | performance over perfection | responsibility – authority = scapegoat | emotions motivate; data doesn't

Offline Pusher Robot

  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 2203
  • Do you have stairs in your house?
Re: Surprisingly literal compound words in the English language
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2017, 09:32:52 AM »
Still doesn't explain why you drive on the parkway and park on the driveway.
A novice was trying to fix a broken Lisp machine by turning the power off and on.
Knight, seeing what the student was doing, spoke sternly: “You cannot fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding of what is going wrong.”
Knight turned the machine off and on.
The machine worked.

Online Ah.hell

  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 10539
Re: Surprisingly literal compound words in the English language
« Reply #17 on: February 08, 2017, 09:46:01 AM »
In the Sacramento area they have the American River Parkway which is a large continuous series of parks, the only Parkway I'm aware of that can be understood literally. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_River_Parkway


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkway

Apparently the term was originally used for scenic drives.  Now you know!
« Last Edit: February 13, 2017, 11:09:31 PM by Ah.hell »

Offline Gravity Allen

  • Off to a Start
  • *
  • Posts: 46
  • Hi! I'm a linguist!
    • The Ling Space
Re: Surprisingly literal compound words in the English language
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2017, 07:48:47 PM »

Offline brilligtove

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4602
  • Ignorance can be cured. Stupidity, you deal with.
    • Valuum
Re: Surprisingly literal compound words in the English language
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2017, 10:22:42 PM »
Tonight I was out for dinner with my daughter and she asked "who is that person" while pointing to the bar.

"The bartender," I said, forcibly not reaching for my phone to post to this thread right away.
evidence trumps experience | performance over perfection | responsibility – authority = scapegoat | emotions motivate; data doesn't

Offline nameofthewave

  • Keeps Priorities Straight
  • ***
  • Posts: 302
Re: Surprisingly literal compound words in the English language
« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2017, 11:29:59 PM »
Catwalk

Redbrick

Sunkissed

Sausagefest

Hovercraft

Sparkplug

Fistfight

Overcast

Offline brilligtove

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4602
  • Ignorance can be cured. Stupidity, you deal with.
    • Valuum
Re: Surprisingly literal compound words in the English language
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2017, 12:02:13 AM »
Catwalk

Redbrick

Sunkissed

Sausagefest

Hovercraft

Sparkplug

Fistfight

Overcast

Nice list - except sunkissed. A miasma of incandescent plasma is not so kissy IRL. :)
evidence trumps experience | performance over perfection | responsibility – authority = scapegoat | emotions motivate; data doesn't

Offline Caffiene

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4768
Re: Surprisingly literal compound words in the English language
« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2017, 02:33:50 AM »
Sausagefest

I dont usually hear people using "sausagefest" to refer to literal sausages or a literal festival... but maybe that says more about my friends.
[Lurk Mode Disengage]

Online Ah.hell

  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 10539
Re: Surprisingly literal compound words in the English language
« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2017, 09:18:17 AM »
Sausagefest

I dont usually hear people using "sausagefest" to refer to literal sausages or a literal festival... but maybe that says more about my friends.
I've seen it as joke at a bars and german restaurants. 

Also, Catwalk?  Typically walked by people rather than cats.  I also have questions about overcast.  I thought that list was a joke at first, then I realized some of the words actually worked as literal compounds. 

Online seamas

  • Well Established
  • *****
  • Posts: 1811
Re: Surprisingly literal compound words in the English language
« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2017, 11:18:11 AM »
Boathouse
Houseboat

birdsong
songbird

sidetrack
trackside

casebook
bookcase

ownership
shipowner

uphold
holdup

workhouse
housework

takeover
overtake

gunshot
shotgun

fishbone
bonefish
^
I once read a book on the English language that stated that none of the other related languages would make that distinction when reversed--even out compound word loving parent language German. I don't know enough about German to know if that is true or not.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2017, 11:21:23 AM by seamas »

Offline Drunken Idaho

  • Natural Blonde
  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *********
  • Posts: 9330
  • Comrade Questions
Re: Surprisingly literal compound words in the English language
« Reply #25 on: February 14, 2017, 12:03:38 PM »
I feel like the "surprisingly" caveat has been lost.  :laugh:
Strange women lying in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government.

Offline brilligtove

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4602
  • Ignorance can be cured. Stupidity, you deal with.
    • Valuum
Re: Surprisingly literal compound words in the English language
« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2017, 02:14:37 PM »
Boathouse
Houseboat

birdsong
songbird

sidetrack
trackside

casebook
bookcase

ownership
shipowner

uphold
holdup

workhouse
housework

takeover
overtake

gunshot
shotgun

fishbone
bonefish
^
I once read a book on the English language that stated that none of the other related languages would make that distinction when reversed--even out compound word loving parent language German. I don't know enough about German to know if that is true or not.

That is a delightful list.

Paperweight
Roadsigns
Signpost
evidence trumps experience | performance over perfection | responsibility – authority = scapegoat | emotions motivate; data doesn't

Offline nameofthewave

  • Keeps Priorities Straight
  • ***
  • Posts: 302
Re: Surprisingly literal compound words in the English language
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2017, 04:22:06 PM »
Sausagefest

I dont usually hear people using "sausagefest" to refer to literal sausages or a literal festival... but maybe that says more about my friends.

Hmm, fair point. I guess if you were literally going to a sausage festival, you probably wouldn't announce you were going to a sausagefest, people might look at you a bit funny.

Sausagefest

I dont usually hear people using "sausagefest" to refer to literal sausages or a literal festival... but maybe that says more about my friends.
I've seen it as joke at a bars and german restaurants. 

Also, Catwalk?  Typically walked by people rather than cats.  I also have questions about overcast.  I thought that list was a joke at first, then I realized some of the words actually worked as literal compounds. 

At first I thought catwalk as in fashionable people cool like cats walking up and down. But I found some other info on how it became to be called a catwalk:

https://www.quora.com/What-is-a-catwalk-Or-why-is-it-known-as-a-catwalk

Quote
The reason this platform is called the catwalk is because models need to walk very carefully on it, like a cat. Cats tread lightly, lithely and smoothly, without taking up too much space. Since the model is expected to walk on the platform in such a manner, the platform came to be called a 'catwalk'.

Also, I love these triple compound words:

whithersoever
whatsoever
plainclothesman
hereinbefore
highwayman
heretofore
albeit
nevertheless
hereupon
whosoever
insomuch
nonetheless
wherewithal
wheretofore
hereinafter
woebegone
insofar
inasmuch
crossbowman
backwoodsman



Online Ah.hell

  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 10539
Re: Surprisingly literal compound words in the English language
« Reply #28 on: February 14, 2017, 04:37:08 PM »
I have my doubts about the etymology of Catwalk.  It also means any sort of narrow high walkway meant to access stuff.  I suspect the fashion catwalk is derived from the industrial catwalk.  Actually, it just skips a step, never mind.  Still not really literal.

Offline Gravity Allen

  • Off to a Start
  • *
  • Posts: 46
  • Hi! I'm a linguist!
    • The Ling Space
Re: Surprisingly literal compound words in the English language
« Reply #29 on: February 14, 2017, 04:59:49 PM »
(click to show/hide)
^
I once read a book on the English language that stated that none of the other related languages would make that distinction when reversed--even out compound word loving parent language German. I don't know enough about German to know if that is true or not.

English is right-headed, which means it's compounds (at least, the literal ones) tend to refer to whichever constituent appears rightmost in the word; notice that a gunshot is a kind of shot, while a shotgun is a kind of gun. In principle, any language that has headedness can make this distinction, be it left (like Hebrew) or right (like English). German is right-headed, so even a notoriously long word like "Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänskajütentürschlüssel" ends with the word for "key," and the whole thing is, in fact, a kind of key. So German ought to make this distinction, too. (Unfortunately, I'm not a German speaker, nor do I currently have access to one, so I can't immediately test this hypothesis.)

Also, notice that "houseboat" is an exception. It's what's known as a dvandva compound, since it's both right- and left-headed; that is, it's both a kind of boat and a kind of house.

 

personate-rain