A brief follow-up to my posting of 12/5/10 on plurals in compounds (schools chief / superintendent / administrator, comments spam, jobs market), inspired by a posting to ADS-L by Jon Lighter this morning:
A Romney spokesman says in CNN that in three-and-a half years in office, the President “hasn’t even moved the needle” on “jobs creation.”
In my day, that would have been “*job* creation.”
My earlier posting noted a collection of cases where compounds with Npl first element alternated with compounds with a bare-stem N (interpreted semantically as plural) as first element; alongside the examples cited above are: school chief / superintendent / administrator, comment spam, job market. And so it is with jobs creation, jobs creators, and jobs growth.
In fact, the jobs market case in my earlier posting was from Lighter, who took it to be “hypercorrect pluralization of attributives”. I wouldn’t automatically label such things as hypercorrections, but instead treat them as motivated by a desire for more semantic transparency in the form of compounds. In any case, alternations between Npl and bare-stem N are very common in certain precincts in the world of compounds. A few examples, from an enormous number:
[JOBS CREATION] Gov. Brown punts on jobs creation
The governor neglected to include jobs creation on the list, despite the Golden State’s 11 percent unemployment rate, the nation’s third highest. (link)
[JOB CREATION] An economy that works: Job creation and America’s future (link)
[JOBS GROWTH] Where Will 2012 Jobs Growth Come From? (link)
[JOB GROWTH] Viewpoints: Brown’s tax hike would impede job growth (link)
Most strikingly, there are a fair number of cites with Npl and bare-stem N in the same passage, like:
[Wikipedia] Job creation program
[JOB CREATION throughout, except:] In 2011 President Barack Obama, in an opening bid for re-election discussed using innovation economics as the basis for his jobs creation program.
[USA Today] Romney ad attacks Obama’s jobs-creation record
A “super PAC” associated with Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign launched a $3.1 million ad buy in Iowa on Thursday, starting with an ad attacking President Obama’s job-creation record and touting Romney’s.
[MittRomney.com] Romney Will Be A Friend To Jobs Creators
The Hispanic community has been especially hurt by President Obama’s failed economic policies and hostility to job creators.
[NPR] Who Are The Job Creators?
As President Obama pushes Congress to pass his jobs bill, Republicans argue the administration’s policies hurt “job creators.” The phrase “job creators” comes up often these days in political rhetoric. So we wanted to understand who exactly the jobs creators are.
Bare-stem N predominates in some cases, Npl in others, and I have no handle on how these things have changed over time.