Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Maximum (of) flavour

I get emails from Carluccio's, for some reason, and today this one arrived.

At the bottom, it says:
These dishes capture Antonio Carluccio's 'MOF MOF' philosophy - 'minimum of fuss and maximum of flavour'
This reminded me of the chapter we read for our Syntax Reading Group yesterday, in which Richie Kayne demonstrated microcomparative syntax for various constructions in English and French, like the following contrast (p.19):
English: something heavy
French: quelque chose de lourd (literally 'some thing of heavy')
In other words, French requires de in this construction (*quelque chose lourd), while English disallows it (*Something of heavy). In the email I got, the phrases minimum of fuss and maximum of flavour are similar, in that English doesn't use of here. You can say with a minimum of fuss and that's OK, but not a maximum of anything. Antonio Carluccio is, obviously, Italian, so without knowing for sure I speculate that perhaps in Italian, the construction with of is grammatical and thus a point of microcomparison between English and Italian.

Reference: Kayne, Richard S. 2008. Some notes on comparative syntax, with special reference to English and French. In Guglielmo Cinque & Richard S. Kayne, The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Syntax. Oxford: OUP. pp. 3-69. 

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