when a flying saucer is not flying

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  • heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, it's a flying saucer regardless of whether it's actually flying.

    Like a frying pan, or a soldering iron. They are what they are whether they are currently being used for frying or soldering. There are zillions of similar examples.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    The "frying" in" frying pan" seems to be a gerund, whereas the "flying" in "flying saucer" is a present participle.
    They are different.
    I have no idea how that makes a difference, but it doesn't matter.

    A frying pan is a type of pan. A flying saucer is a type of spaceship. It's not actually a saucer. When it lands, it doesn't turn into a small plate for placing a cup on or for feeding milk to cats. ;)
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don't know, you may be right, but a flying saucer is a spacecraft you can fly in, and a frying pan is a pan you can fry in. They are what they are regardless of where they are or what they are doing.
     

    MrMuselk

    Senior Member
    English - South East England
    Yes, I think the grammar doesn’t have anything to with these words. Those names simply denote what they do.
     

    Broccolier

    Member
    Mandarin - Taiwan
    I love this question!!!!
    Of course it’s still a flying saucer it’s just not flying now.
    It’s called a flying saucer. That’s its name.
    Like a swimming pool. Surely u could empty it and leave it like that but it’ll still be a swimming pool. Just an empty one.

    Flying saucer, dancing queen, mockingbird
    All the same.
     
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    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I love this question!!!!
    Of course it’s still a flying saucer it’s just not flying now.
    It’s called a flying saucer. That’s its name.
    Like a swimming pool. Surely u could empty it and leave it like that but it’ll still be a swimming pool. Just an empty one.

    Flying saucer, dancing queen, mockingbird
    All the same.
    "Swimming pool" is different from the other examples you've mentioned. A dancing queen dances, but a swimming pool does not swim.
     
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    MrMuselk

    Senior Member
    English - South East England
    Yes, but it is still an example. Just because you don’t swim in it doesn’t mean it’s not a swimming pool, Sam with the “dancing queen”.
     

    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I have no idea how that makes a difference, but it doesn't matter.

    A frying pan is a type of pan. A flying saucer is a type of spaceship. It's not actually a saucer. When it lands, it doesn't turn into a small plate for placing a cup on or for feeding milk to cats. ;)
    Could it be that "saucer" here means a saucer-shaped object?

    Yes, but it is still an example. Just because you don’t swim in it doesn’t mean it’s not a swimming pool, Sam with the “dancing queen”.
    That aspect of meaning is well served by the gerundive status of "swimming." As a gerund, it is like a noun, so that a swimming pool is a pool for swimming, just as a walking stick is a stick for walking.

    But when the modifier is a present participle, things may be different. Is a running horse necessarily running?
     

    Broccolier

    Member
    Mandarin - Taiwan
    Could it be that "saucer" here means a saucer-shaped object?
    Yeah I think that’s why it’s called a flying saucer.
    The examples given above is just trying to show you that sometimes a name doesn’t really have to do with what it’s doing now.
    It’s a name.
    It probably has something to do with what it SHOULD be doing. If a swimming pool is not doing is job, it’s a bad swimming pool. But it’s still a swimming pool.
     

    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Yeah I think that’s why it’s called a flying saucer.
    The examples given above is just trying to show you that sometimes a name doesn’t really have to do with what it’s doing now.
    It’s a name.
    It probably has something to do with what it SHOULD be doing. If a swimming pool is not doing is job, it’s a bad swimming pool. But it’s still a swimming pool.
    For pedagogical purposes, it's best to treat "swimming pool" separately from a combination of a present participle and a noun.
    A flying saucer has to do with what it is capable of doing. It can fly. But a swimming pool cannot be described in that way. A swimming pool is incapable of swimming.
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I am sure there is science fiction that says something like "I saw that the flying saucer that had crashed in the field .' It doesn't become a crashed saucer or landed saucer.
     

    MrMuselk

    Senior Member
    English - South East England
    I was only expecting frying pan, flying saucer, swimming’s pool, etc. That already seemed enough :eek:
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    When a flying saucer is not flying, can it still be referred to as such?
    Back in the 1940s the term "flying saucer" was created, to describe something that was seen in many reported instances (and countless science fiction stories). The term "UFO" (Unidentified Flying Object) started in the 1950s.

    Both terms became standard phrases in American English. So today a "flying saucer" is an alien spacecraft. It is not a saucer that is flying.
     

    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    The amount of words like that was longer than I expected! But I think you’ve proved our point.
    Well, for language professionals such as teachers or linguists, it'd be a mistake to treat "answering machine" and other gerund+noun combinations on the one hand and present participle+noun combinations on the other as belonging to the same category. One difference, which is overlooked by many people, is the position of the primary stress. For "answering machine" or "washing machine," the primary stress falls on the first component, whereas for "flying saucer" and other present participle+noun combinations, it falls on the second component.
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    Well, for language professionals such as teachers or linguists, it'd be a mistake to treat "answering machine" and other gerund+noun combinations on the one hand and present participle+noun combinations on the other as belonging to the same category. One difference, which is overlooked by many people, is the position of the primary stress. For "answering machine" or "washing machine," the primary stress falls on the first component, whereas for "flying saucer" and other present participle+noun combinations, it falls on the second component.
    I agree. "Flying" is unstressed, so a flying saucer is not a saucer for flying (in) but a "saucer" that flies.

    It does not have to be airborne to be a flying saucer, just a saucer-shaped thing that can fly.
     

    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I agree. "Flying" is unstressed, so a flying saucer is not a saucer for flying (in) but a "saucer" that flies.

    It does not have to be airborne to be a flying saucer, just a saucer-shaped thing that can fly.
    "Flying Scotsman" (a type of railway engine) and "Flying Squad" (a group of police officers in the UK) might present complications.
    The primary stress falls on the second component of the former but on the first of the latter.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    The Flying Scotsman is not "a type of railway engine". It is a proper noun and is
    1. The name of a scheduled express rail service between London and Edinburgh.
    2. The name of a particular A3 steam locomotive which has been preserved in working order.

    I'm not convinced that there is any relative stress in "Flying Scotsman". If there is, I would put it on "Flying".
     

    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    The Flying Scotsman is not "a type of railway engine". It is a proper noun and is
    1. The name of a scheduled express rail service between London and Edinburgh.
    2. The name of a particular A3 steam locomotive which has been preserved in working order.

    I'm not convinced that there is any relative stress in "Flying Scotsman". If there is, I would put it on "Flying".
    You could check out the pronunciation here: the-flying-scotsman - Definition, pictures, pronunciation and usage notes | Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary at OxfordLearnersDictionaries.com

    Consider also the stress pattern of the Flying Dutchman on the same website.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Well, for language professionals such as teachers or linguists, it'd be a mistake to treat "answering machine" and other gerund+noun combinations on the one hand and present participle+noun combinations on the other as belonging to the same category.
    I think you are wrong. They do all belong to the same category; they are compound nouns.

    There are many different ways of forming compound nouns, but I don't think you can really say that the use, meaning or categorisation of a word depends on its etymology.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    You could check out the pronunciation here
    I could. I wasn't going to bother because I know how I say it, but I did. Yes, the stress in "Scotsman" is on "Scot", but I don't agree that it is normal to put relative stress on "Scotsman". That somebody with that particular English accent pronounces the name in that particular way doesn't make it normal or correct. To me, his pronunciation of the name is abnormal.
    Consider also the stress pattern of the Flying Dutchman on the same website.
    :confused:
    No exact match found for “the Flying Dutchman” in English
     
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    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I think you are wrong. They do all belong to the same category; they are compound nouns.

    There are many different ways of forming compound nouns, but I don't think you can really say that the use, meaning or categorisation of a word depends on its etymology.
    Did you know compound nouns are distinguished from noun phrases, even though both can consist of an adjective and a noun?

    I didn't determine the use, meaning, or categorization of a word based on its etymology.
     

    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I could. I wasn't going to bother because I know how I say it, but I did. Yes, the stress in "Scotsman" is on "Scot", but I don't agree that it is normal to put relative stress on "Scotsman". That somebody with that particular English accent pronounces the name in that particular way doesn't make it normal or correct. To me, his pronunciation of the name is abnormal.
    :confused:
    "Flying Dutchman" is from another dictionary:

    Flying Dutchman, The | meaning of Flying Dutchman, The in Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English | LDOCE
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I've no knowledge of how Americans pronounce "The Flying Dutchman". I don't stress "Dutchman".

    An afterthought. The pronunciation examples are wholly artificial. Clearly, the person who said "The Flying Scotsman" was tasked to say those three words, and not to say them as part of a sentence. I suspect that if he was asked to say "This is a platform change announcement. The Flying Scotsman will depart from Platform 2" I doubt very much that he would place any stress on "Scotsman". After all, it would be an announcement in a station full of Scotsmen - some very important information would be which Scotsman was being referred to.
     
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    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Did you know compound nouns are distinguished from noun phrases, even though both can consist of an adjective and a noun?
    Yes I do, but the original subject of this thread is a compound noun, as are most of the examples discussed.

    A "flying saucer", meaning a spaceship, is a compound noun. It remains a "flying saucer" whether it is flying or not.

    A "flying saucer" that is a piece of crockery I have just thrown at the wall in frustration is not a compound noun. It was not a flying saucer before I threw it, and it will cease being a flying saucer when it breaks upon hitting the wall. A saucer that the genie in the lamp has invested with magical properties may also be a flying saucer while it is flying, but it is not one when it is not - probably, but I think flying cars are called flying cars even when they aren't actually flying, so perhaps the same would be true for magical saucers, if ever anyone wanted to write about such a thing.

    "Frying pan", "swimming pool", "flying boat", "running track", "adding machine", "answering machine", "bathing costume", "begging letter" and "chewing gum" are all compound nouns. As, for example are "bus stop" (noun-noun), "hanger on" (noun-preposition) and "court martial" (noun-adjective). Their derivation is different, but each of then functions as a single unit.
     

    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Yes I do, but the original subject of this thread is a compound noun, as are most of the examples discussed.

    A "flying saucer", meaning a spaceship, is a compound noun. It remains a "flying saucer" whether it is flying or not.
    Its stress pattern shows it is a noun phrase consisting of an adjective and a noun. A noun/gerund+noun compound would have the primary stress on the first component, whereas a noun phrase would have the stress on the head.

    "Frying pan", "swimming pool", "flying boat", "running track", "adding machine", "answering machine", "bathing costume", "begging letter" and "chewing gum" are all compound nouns. As, for example are "bus stop" (noun-noun), "hanger on" (noun-preposition) and "court martial" (noun-adjective). Their derivation is different, but each of then functions as a single unit.
    Yes, those are compound nouns, though I'm not too sure about the calque court-martial.
     
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    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Its stress pattern shows it is a noun phrase consisting of an adjective and a noun. A compound would have the primary stress on the first component, whereas a noun phrase would have the stress on the head.
    Nonsense. It's a compound noun, and in any case the stress is not on "saucer". If it were a noun phrase, it would cease to be a flying saucer as soon as it landed.

    But none of this matters with regard to your OP question - which I, and others, answered ages ago.
    It does matter to some degree, since raymondaliasapollyon is arguing that a flying saucer that has landed ceases to be a flying saucer, because it is a noun phrase. :confused:
     

    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Nonsense. It's a compound noun, and in any case the stress is not on "saucer". If it were a noun phrase, it would cease to be a flying saucer as soon as it landed.
    The primary stress falls on "saucer." See the following dictionaries. Are you telling me they are all wrong and you are right?

    flying-saucer noun - Definition, pictures, pronunciation and usage notes | Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary at OxfordLearnersDictionaries.com

    flying saucer | meaning of flying saucer in Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English | LDOCE

    FLYING SAUCER (noun) definition and synonyms | Macmillan Dictionary


    It does matter to some degree, since raymondaliasapollyon is arguing that a flying saucer that has landed ceases to be a flying saucer, because it is a noun phrase. :confused:
    No, I was not arguing that, but indeed I am arguing it is a noun phrase.
     
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    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    The primary stress falls on "saucer." See the following dictionaries. Are you telling me they are all wrong and you are right?
    We are not arguing where the primary stress lies, but that this in no way indicates whether or not it is a compound noun.

    The saucer that I throw at the wall is pronounced in exactly the same way, but this is not a compound noun; it is a saucer which, at that moment, is flying.
     

    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    We are not arguing where the primary stress lies, but that this in no way indicates whether or not it is a compound noun.
    The position of the primary stress is a hallmark of a compound, if you have studied entry-level linguistics. (Compare "white house" vs. "White House.")


    The saucer that I throw at the wall is pronounced in exactly the same way, but this is not a compound noun; it is a saucer which, at that moment, is flying.
    Yes, but does the present participle in a noun phrase necessarily imply that the action is going on? Forero suggested that it can mean either the action is going on or something or somebody can act in a certain way.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    The primary stress falls on "saucer." See the following dictionaries. Are you telling me they are all wrong and you are right?
    No. I'm disagreeing with your interpretation of what is in those dictionaries. When I listen to the woman saying "flying saucer" for the OALD I hear no stress on "saucer" compared to "flying", but I do hear that she places the stress in "saucer" on the beginning of the word, as I would expect. And as I said earlier, the stress in these compounds is influenced by context. I would say that they do not have a fixed stress pattern.

    A flying saucer is not a saucer that is flying, it is a saucer that is made to fly. A flying brick is not a brick that is made to fly, it is a brick that is airborne because somebody threw it. I think that a flying saucer is a compound noun and a flying brick is a noun phrase. That's why a flying saucer is still a flying saucer when it has landed, but a flying brick is just a brick when it comes to the ground.

    It seems odd to claim that primary stress determines the difference, particularly as stress is not necessarily fixed.
     

    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    No. I'm disagreeing with your interpretation of what is in those dictionaries. When I listen to the woman saying "flying saucer" for the OALD I hear no stress on "saucer" compared to "flying", but I do hear that she places the stress in "saucer" on the beginning of the word, as I would expect. And as I said earlier, the stress in these compounds is influenced by context. I would say that they do not have a fixed stress pattern.

    A flying saucer is not a saucer that is flying, it is a saucer that is made to fly. A flying brick is not a brick that is made to fly, it is a brick that is airborne because somebody threw it. I think that a flying saucer is a compound noun and a flying brick is a noun phrase. That's why a flying saucer is still a flying saucer when it has landed, but a flying brick is just a brick when it comes to the ground.

    It seems odd to claim that primary stress determines the difference, particularly as stress is not necessarily fixed.
    I suspect that not all native speakers know the notion "primary stress" as it is understood by linguists and language teachers, but anyway, you can see the stress mark for the primary stress on "saucer" in both Longman and Oxford.

    Stress may well be influenced by context, but the test for compoundhood is to read the sequence in question as a standalone item.

    I cannot post links to YouTube videos here, but It might be a good idea to search for "English Speaking Practice: Compound Nouns and Descriptive Phrases" on YouTube.
     

    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I do have an argument for the compoundhood of "flying saucer," though.
    Consider separability. It seems okay to separate "flying" and "ball" with "red," as in "a flying red ball." But that is impossible with "flying saucer." It may have started out as a noun phrase, but over time become conventionalized like a single lexical item.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes. We can have a flying broken house brick, or a flying grey engineering brick. But, as it happens, they would be noun phrases based on compound nouns.

    flying broken {house brick}
    flying grey {engineering brick} or even flying {grey engineering brick}

    By the way, I say "the white house" in the same way as I say "The White House", but then, the name of the President's residence isn't of any great importance to me. :)
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    I stress both words in "Flying Dutchman", just like the two words of "United States", but with more stress on the final noun.
    "Flying" is unstressed, ...
    Actually, I probably should not have said "unstressed". Maybe tertiary stress is a better term. Primary, secondary, and none are fine for stress within a word, but for stress on words within a phrase or sentence, we need more levels.

    I am convinced that "flying" in "flying saucer" is a participle, not a gerund, and that it has (at least) two distinct meanings (the spacecraft, and any saucer that happens to be airborne) with no difference in stress pattern. But there are different intonation patterns to say "flying saucer" for contrast with, say, a "regular saucer", or to emphasize what the saucer does or can do.

    In trying to distinguish one kind of phrase from another by stress pattern, I think we have to talk about the natural stress pattern when neither contrast nor emphasis is involved, not all possible stress patterns for the phrase.
     
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    raymondaliasapollyon

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    For those who regard "flying saucer" as a compound noun, is "travelling salesman" also a compound noun? A travelling salesman is referred to as such even when he is not traveling. According to what some of you believe, this fact qualifies it as a compound. But it fails the stress placement test (with the primary stress on "salesman") and inseparability test; we could say "traveling car salesman," for example.
     
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