A contrived example, but: if I said something like "The Penguin Wars" (Yes, it's a silly example but this is a serious question I promise), such a phrase (bare of any conventional denotations) could mean any number of things:
- The war in which penguins fought humans
- The war between two groups of penguins
- The war in which two human nations used penguins as ammunition against each other
- The war in which two human nations fought each other over penguins
- The war to liberate penguins, etc. (This is still a serious question).
The point here is that there seems to be a great deal of work required on the part of the interpreter in order to make sense of even something as simple as an adjectival phrase. I imagine this issue doesn't surface much in daily conversation because usually one meaning seems more likely/sane than others. So if I say "The Vietnam War", even someone unfamiliar with the historical event can safely infer this phrase refers to a war fought against/on the soil of Vietnam. But it's silly examples like "Penguin Wars" that reveal that there a sort of "semantic glue" holding together the noun and the adjective, connecting them in a way that creates meaningful utterance out of what is, really, just a sequence of words: "Penguin" "Wars".
What is this sort of "semantic glue"?