Police Can’t Stop Drinking
The title of this post comes from my anthropology reading (Harvard has conveniently put it online) as an example of English syntactical ambiguity. The authors claim it has “at least three” meanings, and translate two of them into Italian… the third is left as an exercise to the reader.
Perhaps I’ve been addled by a thick stack of absurd people claiming differences in color-processing among blue-eyed vs. brown-eyed Missouri freshmen, or perhaps I’m a closet Italian, but I can’t find the third meaning. Help?
It’s interesting that examples of ambiguity in these sorts of papers are often drawn from newspaper headlines. After all, the headline is a young thing, barely as old as the printing press, and subject to constraints no sensible English speaker would obey in other circumstances. Judging English from headlines is equivalent to feeding Chinese speakers a poorly-translated story and concluding that Chinese can’t handle counterfactual reasoning (which happened elsewhere in the reading packet).
But enough of that, I’ve finished the readings, so I’ve got a midterm to take. Cheerio.