Friday, April 20, 2012

Nouns as adjectives NPR style

Caught this on NPR the other day, a story by Julie McCarthy on how troops from India and Pakistan are facing off - and dying - on a remote glacier in the Himalayas.

And right at the end came that tin-ear construction of using a noun in place of an adjective. What made this one ring tinny was that she combined both forms:
"Pakistan-Indian relations."

You won't find it on the transcript - NPR has cleaned it up to "Pakistan-India" (though I'd argue Pakistani-Indian would be better). So much for accuracy in transcripts, eh?

But you can hear it right at the end of the audio:

As I've argued before, I wish we'd stop doing this noun-for-adjective thing because it produces these tin-ear constructions. I know I'm spitting into the wind, as the old Jim Croce song goes. Still, one can hope.

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At 7/26/12, 12:53 AM, Blogger AnWulf said...

English often notes nouns as adjectivs ... mountain bike, personnel carrier, history teacher, science building, race horse, asf ... it's common in Germanic tungs but unlike German itself, we don't slam the nouns together ... at least not first. If two nouns are found together often enuff, we MIGHT hyphenate and later put them together — doorbell.
f — freespeller

At 7/26/12, 2:01 PM, Blogger Doug Fisher said...

Yes, but this is not the same as your examples. This is a compound adjective, and that traditionally has taken the adjective form in both positions. Plus there is the issue of parallel construction - why not Pakistan-India to be consistent>


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