naked X

Got a print-out of a photo showing a handsome young man, naked, straddling a bicycle. Sent it on to a friend, with a note of concern about naked bike-riding (potential ouches). Yes, naked bike-riding ‘bike-riding while naked’ — with naked serving as a non-predicating adjective. In fact, there’s a big pattern here of naked X (and nude X) composites, where X denotes an activity, conveying engaging in this activity while naked: naked sports, naked/nude volleyball, naked basketball, and much more, even naked chess (not to mention bare-assed wrestling and topless tobagganing).

Some background, from a discussion of the non-predicating composite contagious countries on this blog:

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.

Naked X and its relatives follow a productive pattern, one that is so easy to understand that most people probably don’t see that there’s anything notable about instances of the pattern.


2 Responses to “naked X”

  1. Sam Says:

    When I was in college (93-97) there had just been a fad for “co-ed naked X” T-shirts: Co-Ed Naked Volleyball, Co-Ed Naked Lacrosse, etc. possibly culminating in Co-Ed Naked Wrestling.

    Some engineers of my acquaintance had Co-Ed Naked Laplace shirts printed up.

    S Mikes

  2. Non-predicating adjectives « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] comparison, see this posting on naked X composites, with some nude X ones as […]

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