To Kill a Mockingbird RNW
Posted by Neal on December 1, 2012
I found this hastily scribbled line in my linguistics spiral notebook recently:
They chewed up and spat out the bark of a tree into a communal pot and then got drunk on it.
I had written it down as soon as I heard it sometime in the past few months, but I couldn’t remember where. I’d forgotten I’d even heard it until I saw that page in my notebook again, but it was clear enough why I’d written it down. It was another right-node wrapping. The transitive phrasal verb chewed up is coordinated with the transitive phrasal verb spat out, with the shared direct the bark of a tree. But after that shared direct object, there’s one more phrase in this sentence’s predicate, and it belongs just to spat out. It’s the prepositional phrase into a communal pot.
Googling the phrase, I see that it’s from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, which I listened to in the car during the summer. Mystery solved!