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Re: [ontolog-forum] Bad language - no biscuit.

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 02 Jun 2011 17:46:49 -0400
Message-id: <4DE804C9.30207@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Leo and Simon,    (01)

As Leo pointed out, the phrase "attorney general" is actually
a noun-adjective phrase, using a grammatical pattern that is
based on French word order.    (02)

> In general, hyphenated or string-concatenated noun-noun compounds
> are clearer, but because they are lexicalized, they often have
> idiosyncratic meanings. Example: broomstick, egghead, night-rider.    (03)

Actually, even those compounds follow the pattern that the last
noun is the head and the preceding noun modifies it:    (04)

   broomstick -- a stick of a broom    (05)

   egghead -- this is a combination of a metonym (using 'head' to
      refer to a person with a focus on the head) and using the
      word 'egg' as a deprecating modifier of the head of that person.    (06)

   night-rider -- a rider who rides at night (possibly with other
      connections to the night).    (07)

In any case, N-N patterns are among the most difficult syntactic
constructions to interpret for NLP systems, primarily because
they are so idiosyncratic.    (08)

John    (09)

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