grinding is a kind of metonymy
or meaning transference
that uses a word to refer to its substance
. The standard cases are the use of animal names to refer to their meat
, and plant names to refer to their material.
We ate chicken yesterday.
These clothes are made of hemp.
This table is made of oak.
It could be said that with the examples 'of hemp', 'of oak', the preposition 'of' simply means 'out of, derived from' and the noun 'oak' or 'hemp' just is the plant: but the same construction is used with material
s that are clearly derived materials, not plants: made of twill, made of fibreglass.
With animal products there's a lexical blocking rule. If we already have a name for the meat as such, we don't normally allow grinding of the animal name.
We ate beef yesterday.
# We ate cow yesterday.
(The symbol '#' indicates the sentence is grammatical but violates a pragmatic
norm.) We don't normally say we eat cow, but if we do we're drawing attention to something like the grossness or violation in the act, and referring to the killing of the whole cow, not just its meat.
An oddity of English is that it doesn't allow grinding to produce names of liquids. The following, while obvious in meaning, just aren't normally said:
* I fried it in sunflower.
* I had a glass of orange for breakfast.
An oddity of French along these lines is that some kinds of liquid
s can and some can't be derived by grinding. Une menthe
'a mint' is a syrup
made from mint, but they can't say *une pomme
'an apple' to mean a juice
made from an apple. Also, the construction is actually meaning transfer of the word 'mint': it isn't building a compound such as 'mint syrup' and then omitting the head 'syrup', because un syrop
is masculine whereas une menthe
This can get more complicated as you delve into specifics. We don't use breed names as substance names: we don't say I'm wearing an angora or Holstein. Of course we can use partially specified names contrastively: if there's a choice of peach-flavoured and mandarin-flavoured vodka you can say you want the peach.
Nunberg, G., 'The Pragmatics of Deferred Interpretation', in Horn and Ward, eds., The Handbook of Pragmatics, 2004, Blackwell