PSP synthetic compounds

From Ned Deily on Facebook, this report in the Advocate of the coming-out of Lutheran Bishop Kevin Kanouse at a youth conference:

Kanouse recounted the experience in a letter to local leadership, which was published online this week. In the document, he wrote he was “Holy Spirit-moved to tell my own story publicly, for the first time,” after hearing the emotional stories recounted by young people at the conference, concerning the role of God in their lives.

The point of linguistic (rather than gay) interest here is the PSP synthetic compound Holy Sprit-moved ‘moved by the Holy Spirit’, with the PSP in passive function.

Ned was following up on my posting “What’s wrong with this verb?”, about the verb drunk-drive ‘drive (while) drunk’, back-formed from the PRP synthetic compound drunk-driving. The Kanouse quote gets things only to the synthetic compound stage, not all the way to a two-part back-formed verb (2pbfV) to Holy Spirit-move. But some other PSP synthetic compounds have made it all the way.

Some general remarks about synthetic compounds (in part a replay of material in earlier postings here and on Language Log). Synthetic compounds are morphological constructs corresponding to syntactic constructions, in effect a way of packing syntax into morphology — in this case, by incorporating a non-subject argument of a V into a word along with that V, in one of three fixed forms. The result is

(1) a V that functions only as a PRP (the “-ing form”), but in any of the uses (verbal, nominal, adjectival, or adverbial) of the PRP — e.g. bicycle-touring

or (2) a V that functions only as a PSP (the “-en form”), but in any of the uses (verbal or adjectival) of the PSP (and for the verbal uses, in either passive or perfect function) — e.g. oil-derived

or (3) an AGT (agentive) N (with suffix –er) — e.g. coffee-roaster

Type (1), the PRP synthetic compounds, get most of the attention; they are very versatile and are especially likely to serve as the basis for back-formation. (Most of the 2pbfVs in the Pages here on the phenomenon come from PRP synthetic compounds, or sometimes ambiguously from a PRP or AGT synthetic compound.)

Now, PSP synthetic compounds. Most of these have the PSP in passive function, and most often with the incorporated N serving in agentive adverbial (‘by N’) function, as in Holy Sprit-moved. Such examples don’t easily serve as the basis for back-formation; how, for example, would to Holy-Spirit move be used, even as an intransitive?

There are, however, passive-function PSP synthetic compounds with the incorporated N in other functions, for example:

oil-derived ‘derived from oil’
oil-deprived ‘deprived of oil’

These could imaginably lead to back-formation (We could oil-derive a new product, They will shamefully oil-deprive this little country), though I have no attested examples.

In still other cases, both a passive-function PSP synthetic compound and a PRP synthetic compound are attested, but for for some time only PSP and PRP forms are attested, until eventually speakers create a back-form, and BSE and FIN forms appear. This is the story told in my posting of 4/16/13 on the history that got us to the 2pbfV spit-roast ‘roast on a spit’: for some time, only PSP spit-roasted ‘roasted on a spit’ and PRP spit-roasting ‘roasting on a spit’ were attested, and then eventually there was a burst of BSE and FIN forms. The history of pan-fry ‘fry in a pan’ is similar.

Bonus: beyond chicken-fried steak. This talk of frying things led me to wonder about chicken-fried steak, with the passive-function PSP synthetic compound chicken-fried ‘fried like chicken’. Interesting story from the OED, in a draft addition of December 2004:

chicken-fried adj. (a) orig. U.S. regional (west.) (esp. of steak) dipped in flour or batter and deep-fried, in the manner of fried chicken; (b) fig. (stereotypically) characteristic or typical of the rural southern and western United States.

1914   Colorado Springs Gaz. 19 June 6 (advt.)   A summer dainty. Chicken fried steak. Served at Phelps 111 E. Bijou.

1981   Washington Post (Nexis) 13 Dec. (Mag.) 18   Sam Rayburn and Lyndon Johnson used the New Deal like an upended pipeline to flood the homeland [i.e. Texas] with federal dollars, helping make it a kind of chicken-fried Saudi Arabia.

1990   S. Morgan Homeboy lii. 311   He tuned his radio to the shitkicker station..humming along to a chickenfried ‘White Christmas’.

2003   People (Electronic ed.) 17 Nov. 74   We ate a lot of down home cooking… We had lots of chicken fried things.

Chicken-fried steak with gravy, sides of mashed potatoes and green beans

So of course I wondered about back-formation. The answer is Yes.

Two cites with BSE-form Vs:

Can you chicken fry a whole meal? (link)

Can you chicken fry a pineapple upside down cake ? (link)

(Some people are seriously into chicken-fried food.) And then a gold mine of back formation, from a discussion on the Texas Bowhunter site about cooking venison backstrap:

It should be a crime to cook it any other way than chicken frying… [PRP]

I prefer to chicken fry hindquarters that I have seemed [AMZ: seamed] out and cut cross grain [BSE]

I think people that chicken fry backstrap should be slapped… [FIN]

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