01 March 2009

Pretty Little Girl's School

How many interpretations does the following utterance have?

Pretty little girl's school.

Believe it or not, there are at least five interpretations.

1. There is a girl's school, and this school is little, and it is pretty.

2. There is a little girl, and her school is pretty.

3. There is a little girl, who happens to be pretty, and she has a school.

4. There is a girl's school, and this school is pretty little (aka not so large).

5. There is a girl who is pretty little (aka not so large), and she has a school.

Get that? If you want an illustration, you can find it here, along with other fun linguistic stuff.



(Embassy of Burkina Faso, from my Embassy Row Series)

4 comments:

  1. Sounds like me when I was trying to learn and understand English!

    Adjectives are clearer in French.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Zhu,

    Hehehe. Languages have tons of ambiguities. That's why I find studying them interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I got 7:

    A beautiful young girl owns a school.

    There is a school for beautiful young girls.

    There is a school for very small girls.

    There is a school owned by a very small girl.

    There is a very small school for girls

    There is a nice looking and small school for girls.

    There is a nice looking school for young girls.

    ReplyDelete