Add to My MSN

Mapping the F#@% Out of a Sentence

7/29/2009 5:26:18 PM

Tags: Science and Technology, linguistics, curse words, Language Log

At a recent concert, Van Morrison uttered the vulgar phrase, “Fucking shut the fuck up.” The sentence presents a challenge to the linguistic minds at Language Log. The different uses of the word “fuck” don’t affect the meaning of the sentence, since the sentiment could be conveyed simply as “shut up.” According to the blog, “The main syntactic problem is to determine whether the fuck is being used as an pleonastic (semantically empty) direct object of shut or as a pre-head modifier of the preposition phrase (PP) headed by up.” The author concludes the latter.

Source: Language Log 



Related Content

Expand Your Political Vocabulary

This week Wordsmith.org is featuring words that contain the candidates’ names. These words have been...

Style Guide Fans Rejoice…and Debate

Mary E. Laur dissects the particular devotion readers feel for The Chicago Manual of Style as its la...

Website Dusts Off Unpopular Words

When’s the last time you used the word adimpleate? How about kexy? Every year, dictionaries drop wor...

Defanging the Homophobosphere

An Advocate survey of the “homophobosphere” mentions a valuable theory for understanding the haters ...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 



Pay Now & Save $5!
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $31.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $36 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!