Predicative / locational

(In the illustrations section below, there are some racy images; just a warning for the sexually modest.)

From the annals of ambiguity: the Mother Goose and Grimm from the 20th:


Both terms of the ambiguity are of interest on their own: short-form location names (as in Men’s Fragrances in Meet us in Men’s Fragrances, with the PP in Men’s Fragrances functioning as a VP adverbial, referring to the place of the meeting) vs. (subject-oriented) predicative adjuncts (as in Meet us without a shirt, with the PP without a shirt functioning to denote some characteristic — here, shirtlessness — of the referent of the subject).

Mother Goose intended the VP location adverbial reading of in Women’s Dresses, where Women’s Dresses is the name of a department in a department store (readers are expected to know, even these days, what department stores are and how they are organized and labeled). The dogs Grimm and Ralph understood instead the predicative adjunct reading of in women’s dresses, and so they appeared wearing women’s dresses, outré though that might be.

Short-form location names. For example, the underlined nominals in:

He met me …

… at 4th and Pine, near Linguistics, in Men’s Fragrances

These are proper nominals — names of particular locations — and also metonymic, and also, broadly speaking, abbreviatory in character (with many situationally relevant specific details omitted): 4th and Pine refers to the corner / intersection of 4th and Pine Streets (or however the thoroughfares are named; maybe it’s 4th Avenue and Pine Road); Linguistics to the offices of the Linguistics department or program or whatever (of some educational or research institution); and Men’s Fragrances to the Men’s Fragrances department or section (of a department store or similarly multi-sectioned store), namely the one that specializes in selling men’s fragrances (perfumes or aftershaves for men).

(I expect that there’s some relevant literature on the semantics and pragmatics of short-form location names, but I’m ignorant of most of the literature in these fields and don’t know how to search for material about such names.)

Predicative adjuncts. Specifically, syntactically integrated clause-final predicative adjuncts, corresponding to predicative complements of various verbs (centrally, be) and expressing predications of the clause’s subject. As in:

He came to the door …

… naked [AdjP] / in a dress [concrete PP] / in a foul mood [abstract PP] / screaming [VPprp] / covered with whipped cream [VPpsp]

conveying that when he came to the door he was naked / in a dress / in a foul mood / screaming / covered with whipped cream.

For vividness, and entertainment, illustrations of three of these examples: (AdjP) He came to the door naked; (concrete PP) He came to the door in a dress; and (VPpsp) He came to the door covered with whipped cream.

naked. From the Spycamfromguys site on 8/24/15 (cropped for modesty):

(#2) From the site: “This tall amateur stud is a real exhibitionist who made a selfie video jerking completely naked at the front door. He positioned the camera on the floor to give us a great full frontal.”

(FrontDoor Wank Guy has in fact a nice body and a substantial penis. So if this is the sort of thing you like, you will probably enjoy him; many find the genre mystifying. But someone could probably work up an interesting study on this genre of naked men’s selfies, along with other types of dick pics — as culture objects. In any case, this particular video is no longer available.)

in a dress. From a RealityBlurred story by Andy Dehnart on 9/26/19:

(#3) From an announcement of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK; RuPaul is welcoming us to their house

covered with whipped cream. This time in a close-up:

(#4)A pxfuel royalty-free image of Whipped Cream Man


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