Question. What is an attested technical term for the following kind of pleonasm? Has this been described scientifically and where? What are other examples than the one I give below?
Let N be a noun. Let n be a noun modifier. Let a be an adjective. Assume the following
- The compound 'n N' lexically exists.
- There is nothing pleonastic about 'n N' in that not every 'N' is an 'n N', in any reasonable sense.
- The compound 'a n N' however, is pleonastic, in that every 'n N' is 'a'.
- The compound 'a n N' is however, not quite so pleonastic that every 'N' were 'a', too: there do exist 'N' which are non-'a'.
End of Question.
Example. a := bicyclic, n := mountain, N := bike. This results in
- bicyclic mountain bike
Here, all the above are satisfied:
- 'mountain bike' lexically exists.
- The compound 'mountain bike' is not pleonastic at all; by far not every bike is a mountain bike, in any reasonable sense.
- The compount 'bicyclic mountain bike' is pleonastic, in a reasonably clear sense: no usual mountain bike has a number of wheels other than 2.
There exist bikes which are non-bicyclic, in that there exist unicycles. So this is an example of the kind of pleonasm in the question: it is only pleonastic to add the 'a' to the 'n N'. It is not pleonastic to add 'a' to 'N' alone. (Note that 'bicyclic bike', while unusual, is not pleonastic, and appropriate in certain contexts, in view of unicycles or training wheels.)
(This is not my main motivation for this question, yet the compound I am really interested in I prefer not to give, for several reasons, already because it is so specifici to a scientific subfield that it would be incomprehensible to most.)