5x6 (5x6) wrote in linguaphiles,
5x6
5x6
linguaphiles

parsing a sentence

On a Russian-language translators' forum, we had a curious discussion. The question is as follow: In an American text written by a prison psychologist, the author lists situations in which inmates may need psychological help. One of the item on the list is interviewing for "privileged committee seats."

It appears that this clause can be parsed in three different ways, all grammatically acceptable.
1. "interviewing for committee seats, which are privileged compared to not being on such a committee." That is to say, people are interviewing for being members of inmates advisory committees; being a member of such a committee is a privileged position in prison.
2. "interviewing for special seats on the committee, which can be called privileged". For instance, there may be an Advisory Committee of 22 members, including the chair, the vice-chair, the secretary, and the scribe; these four positions are considered "privileged" and interviewing for such positions is especially challenging.
3. There is a typo (or a common mistake), and the author meant "privilege committee seats". This assumes that there is a so-called Privilege Committee advising the management about inmates' privileges", and people are interviewing for seats on this committee.

So my question is, when you first read this sentence, before perusing these three options, what is your immediate understanding? Do you feel that one reading is much more natural than the others? Do you feel they are all about equally likely? Or that there is one that is hardly possible, but the other two are equally acceptable?
Subscribe

  • I guess basic is too basic.

    You have to love how slang evolves. In my day, insulting someone was dissing someone from the word disrespect. Now it is throwing shade, especially…

  • The Australian Vernacular... Mate

    Here's an article about Australian slang words, tacked onto a story about an ex-pat USA citizen grappling with what looks & sounds to be the base…

  • translations of the Bhagavad Gita

    An old friend was talking with C and me lately, and she expressed an interest in learning more about the ideas behind yoga, and particularly about…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 15 comments

  • I guess basic is too basic.

    You have to love how slang evolves. In my day, insulting someone was dissing someone from the word disrespect. Now it is throwing shade, especially…

  • The Australian Vernacular... Mate

    Here's an article about Australian slang words, tacked onto a story about an ex-pat USA citizen grappling with what looks & sounds to be the base…

  • translations of the Bhagavad Gita

    An old friend was talking with C and me lately, and she expressed an interest in learning more about the ideas behind yoga, and particularly about…