Beheaded pizza

Today’s Rhymes With Orange:

The order presumably involved  the C(ount) Ns regular pepperoni ‘regular pepperoni pizza’ and extra deep-dish ‘extra-pepperoni deep-dish pizza’. But the Joe’s delivery involves the C N extra-deep-dish ‘extra-deep-dish pepperoni pizza’ (not just an ordinary deep-dish pizza, but a really deep deep-dish pizza).

If we take extra to be an Adj, then it conveys ‘(with) extra pepperoni, (with) more than the regular / usual amount of pepperoni’ — in contrast to the regular of regular pepperoni, conveying ‘(with) the regular / usual amount of pepperoni’ — and extra would be elliptical for extra pepperoni, with the antecedent N pepperoni. But the folks at Joe’s seem to have understood the order as involving instead the degree Adv extra, modifying the Adj deep of deep-dish.

(Note: pay no attention to the way expressions are hyphenated in the cartoon. The actual ordering was presumably an entirely oral exchange, with no hyphens involved — but Price had to spell things some way in the cartoon, so there are hyphens there.)

In addition to the cute parsing ambiguity — extra pepperoni vs. extra deep — the cartoon also nicely ilustrates beheading, with both one regular pepperoni and one extra-deep-dish understood as referring to types of pizza, though the head N pizza is missing from both. Conveniently, the phenomenon of beheading was one of the topics of my July 18th posting “Avoid needless menu words” — in the use of ham and Swiss to refer to a ham and Swiss sandwich (and Swiss to refer to Swiss cheese).



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