Saturday, October 20, 2007

More fun with VPE

More fun with VPE: From an Andy Gill article on D.A. Pennebaker's rockumentary Don't Look Back (on Bob Dylan), in The Independent of 4/27/07 (the Joan in question is Joan Baez):

[quote from Pennebaker:] "I guess I tried to make that film as true to my vision of him as I could make it. But as a storyteller, I wanted there to be stories in it."
Pennebaker was aided in this regard by Bob Neuwirth, a singer and painter who served as Dylan's tour manager. Neuwirth had proved himself Dylan's equal in droll acerbity - he's the one who jokes, "Joan's wearing one of those see-through blouses you don't even want to!" - and he clearly saw part of his job as providing entertaining moments for the camera.
Yes, one of those see-through blouses you don't even want to, with a Verb Phrase Ellipsis (VPE) on the edge. (Via Language Log.)

Back in the 90s I spent a lot of time puzzling over ellipsis with my friends Mary Dalrymple and Stu Shieber. Our semantic theory of ellipsis went against the prevailing syntactic theories of the time. The examples in this (as usual) amusing and erudite post by Arnold Zwicky are the kinds of syntactic-theory-busting nuggets we were looking for back then. It's tough digging, but someone has to do it.

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