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Belfast noun pile headline head-scratcher

This head-scratcher of a headline from the Belfast Telegraph was brought to our attention by Mike Pope: "Ed Murray: Sex abuse claim US mayor's time in Northern Ireland 'should be probed'".

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Noun pile of the week

"Corpse sex kill threat prisoner gets 45 year sentence", BBC 12/14/2016. This is a case where even after reading the story, the structure is unclear. Is it [[[corpse sex] [kill threat]] prisoner] ? Or [[[corpse [sex kill]] threat]] prisoner] ? Or has the BBC decided, in this post-truth era, to go post-syntax as well? Philip […]

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Noun pile history

From Alon Lischinsky: In "Brit noun pile heds quizzed" (3/5/2009), you wondered when did British news media start writing headlines as long, complex noun compounds. While I have nothing resembling a clear answer, I've just noticed that it must go back to the 1930s at least. In "The Professor's Manuscript", one of the stories published […]

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Noun pile of the week

Well, almost: Mark Kinver, "Citizen science charts horse chestnut tree pest spread", BBC News 1/24/2014. Though charts might have been a plural noun, it's clearly a verb in this case, alas. The headline writer missed the chance for a genuine 8-element noun pile, e.g. "Citizen science horse chestnut tree pest spread tally". Still, British headline interpretation […]

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Sweat dance plugs noun pile

Katia Dmitrieva, "Madonna addicted to sweat dance plugs Toronto condos: Mortgages", Bloomberg News 1/10/2014 — Reader CD, a hardened journalistic veteran, calls this "a rare American noun pile headline": It's a spectacular garden path which turns out to be a noun pile. I'm pretty good at parsing headlinese but I had no idea what the […]

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Argus Noun Pile Head Collection Notice

Joe Manfre writes: I was looking through a Flickr group celebrating the always sensationalist headlines for the Argus newspaper in Brighton and Hove,  and in it I found a few pretty good noun piles: FIREWORKS BLAZE BOSS VERDICT HOVE GARDEN POND CLASH – PICTURE BLAZE DEATH MURDER QUIZ DOG KNIFE KILLING VERDICT BRIGHTON COCKROACH CURRY […]

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Noun pile for the ages

…submitted by Jesse Sheidlower: "China Ferrari sex orgy death crash".

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Brit noun pile head hoard win

Emma Little, "Fish foot spa virus bombshell", The Sun, 10/18/2011. [h/t John Coleman]

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Coin change 'skin problem fear' hed noun pile puzzle

SC, a native reader of British headlinese, was baffled by the noun pile-up "Coin change 'skin problem fear'" on the BBC News web site, because he hadn't previously encountered the story.

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Microsoft tech writing noun pile blog post madness!

Fans of noun piles will enjoy the recent blog post by Mike Pope, a technical editor at Microsoft, "Fun (or not) with noun stacks." Mike shares a few of the lovely compound noun pileups he's encountered on the job: data bound control table row action links failed password security question answer attempts limit reduced minimum […]

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Eight word BBC headline noun pile construction

Ian Preston reports this British headline word pile construction noun phrase length gem: "Ben Douglas Bafta race row hairdresser James Brown 'sorry'". Ian's construal: I usually have no trouble decoding these but this latest BBC example challenged me: Ben Douglas Bafta race row hairdresser James Brown 'sorry'. That's eight nouns in a row, four of […]

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BBC Brit head noun pile win

Chris Dammers writes to point out a classic British headline noun pile-up on the BBC's news index page, "Sack rape row Clarke – Miliband":

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Headline noun pile length contest entry

"Ministers mull volcano ash cloud flight chaos measures", BBC News, 4/18/2010.

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