Denial of service attack
We saw a sign just like that the other day. Outside a
bar rather than a church, but I'm in love with a church sign generator
The sign actually looked more like this one, but without the bit about
What animal would you leave outside? But I digress. When my son noticed
the sign, the following brief exchange took place...
why can't you have shoes and shirts and service?
What I should
have said: Well, son, the first two Noun Phrases are understood
disjunctively, and the third is understood as the consequent of an
implicit conditional which takes wide scope. You mistakenly analyzed
both missing connectives as conjunctions. (Whack!) The same is true for
this sign I once saw outside a hairdressers, denying curling
service to scruffy would-be customers.
OK, I lied. Like most good things in
life, I found it on the web. It's probably not from a hairdressers, and
obviously is intended to be understood as involving implicit
conjunctions. Randomly pick a natural occurrence of two noun phrases in
a row, and I'll give you good odds they're understood conjunctively:
As far as I can tell, the implicit
disjunction is more unusual than the implicit conditional, though
conditional readings are often indistinguishable from conjunctions.
Take the earliest no-no
construction I came across, from our pal Shaxper's Timon of Athens:
|Flavius: No care, no stop! so senseless of expense,
That he will
neither know how to maintain it,
Nor cease his
flow of riot: takes no account
How things go
from him, nor resumes no care
Of what is to
continue: never mind
Was to be so unwise, to be so kind.
is complaining about his overgenerous master, Timon, who
doesn't care about his rapidly empyting coffers, and (hence) doesn't
stop spending money and giving stuff away. Is no care no stop
a conjunction or a
But it's easy to pick up bona
implicit conditionals on the street:
And summarizing the blogger's life:
Oddly, the No cure, no pay refrain is more
common in the Netherlands than in the UK or US. The meaning is
sufficiently bleached that it's standardly used to describe a lawyer
taking on a case paid only on condition of winning. I've also seen the
oxymoronic eggcorn no cure no pain.
Something else about no cure no pay:
it's not clear that pay
is a noun. Verbs following no
are not uncommon, though perhaps more common in dialectal or
non-standard Englishes, as with this protest from Zambia:
We also find adjectives. On the web I
found No Edie, No
Happy! and No food no happy.
There's often something mock-Asian about no combined with a non-noun,
like the web example: No likee, no clickee.
And this Korean movie
is rendered in English translation No sexy, no happy,
though I need the services of a helpful web denizen to tell me what the
original says literally. Asian salaciousness may be part of the subplot
of the no-no construction
(though one can't really make such a prognosis on the basis of the web,
which filters everything through porn-tinted spectacles):
And to provide a musical frame for the no-no
the same thing in blues.
But I didn't.
Posted by David Beaver at August 18, 2006 10:48 AM