Non-dual citizens, indigenous nudity, and contagious countries

In my posting on contagious countries as a classical malapropism (for contiguous countries), I noted that there was another, quite different, use of this expression, with the sense ‘countries where some contagious disease  has spread’. Some examples:

[with reference to SARS] Major transportation routes were limited, and the movement of people from contagious countries to others was restricted. (link)

[with reference to hoof-and-mouth disease] If Britain continues to import food and farm animals from contagious countries, the virus could slip back in. (link)

and, with reference to swine flu, a tag here.

There are also hits for references to financial contagion, for instance:

Traditionally, dependence methods are adopted to verify the existence of financial contagion, which can only reflect partial characteristics of the relation between contagious countries and fail to offer a satisfactory determination of the contagious degree. (link)

Now, contagious countries here doesn’t mean ‘countries that are contagious’, as it would if the Adj contagious were understood as a predicating modifier. Instead, it’s a “non-predicating” Adj + N combination in which the Adj serves as a covert reference to a related N (contagion, in this case),  so it works pretty much like a N + N compound (and in a Language Log posting, I’ve suggested that the category of such combinations is N, as it is for N + N compounds like country house, and not Nom, as it is for predicating combinations like large country). In fact, financial contagion and contagious degree are also non-predicating combinations.

Some previous Language Log postings on other non-predicating combinations: on non-dual citizen here and indigenous nudity here. Both of these postings have lists of other examples, of various subtypes, and the second notes that some non-predicating combinations follow productive patterns, but others are novel, requiring the use of context, prior experience with the combination, or background knowledge for their interpretation. Contagious countries, in either the disease or the finance sense, is of course a novel non-predicating combination.

6 Responses to “Non-dual citizens, indigenous nudity, and contagious countries”

  1. Back-formings « Arnold Zwicky’s Blog Says:

    […] modifier-noun combinations where the modifier is “non-predicating” (see here) and the head noun is an abstract noun based on a verb (as in gay marriage and free […]

  2. Regional countries « Arnold Zwicky’s Blog Says:

    […] is in]‘. Not a remarkable example of a non-predicating adjective (latest discussion here) — of a type that is interpreted much like a noun, so that regional country is parallel to […]

  3. Short shot #10: one of the oldest countries « Arnold Zwicky’s Blog Says:

    […] (see discussion of contagious country and indigenous nudity, with links to earlier postings, here), so many of which require background knowledge, plenty of context, and practical reasoning to […]

  4. Mortal texting: framing, hypallage « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] is one type of non-predicating modification (recent discussion, with links, here), and it can be difficult indeed to decide when non-predicating modification should be categorized […]

  5. Porn hypallage? « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] adjectives, some of which I’ve posted about — for instance, contiguous country, here, and regional country, […]

  6. Space cadet « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] nouns as their first element; but the two sorts of composites are parallel in a number of ways (see here). Notably, the two types of first elements can be conjoined: the Naval and Air […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: