2004-11-10

Comment on "Fahrenheit this!"

The antepenultimate post brings up an interesting grammatical construction, viz., "X this!" where the demonstrative usually not-so-covertly suggests certain parts of one's anatomy, and the X part, regardless of original category, suggests a copulative function--not necessarily of the auxiliary variety. Needless to say, the demonstrative "this" usually would involve a quite obvious and possibly two-handed demonstration. Most likely of the vertical motion variety.

It appears that X can be a single term as in (1) or more complex terms, as in (2).

(1) Yo, Fahrenheit this!
(2) a: I saw the sweetest puppy for sale at the mall today.
b: Yo, you can [[sweet puppy] for sale] this at the mall!

It appears that this construction might perform some type of focus function. Compare (1)-(2) with (3) below.

(3) It was the [[sweet puppy] for sale] at the mall that I saw today.

Interestingly, the superlative morphology does not seem to make the jump to the cleft construction, as in (4).

(4) It was the sweet(*est) puppy for sale at the mall that I saw today.

This comment is not about superlative morphology, however, thus this particular observation falls outside of the scope of this note--as does the apparent unrestricted position of the locative at the mall in the "X this!" construction. These are best left for future research.

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