Am I right that ①English Language & Usage is the short form either for ②English Language & Its Usage or else for ③English Language & The Usage of It, rather than for ④English Language & English Usage?
Why do I ask? Well, if the latter option were true, we would have English language, where English is an adjective speciﬁying which language. And we would have English usage, where it is a noun and a noun adjunct together specifying what language.
Now, the short form would omit one instance English, although its function is different from that of the instance retained. That would be disharmonious, would it not? It would be like saying English language & the usage of, where the “used object” is missing because that instance of English is not the “used object” but a language attribute.
Or, would such a constellation be ﬁne for native speakers?
Many thanks to all contributors for your valuable input so far, both in answers and comments. Your divided opinions on the applied grammar show me that English Language & Usage is far from being unambiguous, at least grammatically. So far so good.
The question now is, why this ambiguity has been accepted so far. I take John Lawler's statement ([Conjunction Reduction] is "mindlessly automatic") as "Conjunction Reduction, being a solely syntactic rule, does not obligate to check semantic and/or pragmatic harmony." Well, no obligation doesn't mean prohibition. So, what's the reason for native speakers not to feel the need to check it/them anyway.
If I read Hammer & Usage, I don't necessarily understand Hammer & Its Usage. I ask myself "Hammer? Fine. But the usage of what, actually?". But you seem to have no problem with English Language & Usage. I try then to get an answer to the usage-of-what question by enhancing the statement according to grammatical possibilities such as the reversal of a conjunction reduction (result: English Language & English Usage). But I'm not satisfied because I know that I can't use the same English before Usage. After all, I need a noun for Usage, not an adjective, as I can't imagine, to what an English(ical) Usage could refer (English(ical) usage of socks, perhaps?). If I point to this fact, Edwin Ashworth recognizes that English before Usage is a noun but seems still to have no problem with the discrepancy.
By the way, I dare to suppose that most contributors, who have provided elaborated long forms, haven't made a step back and looked at the title in question as if it's completely new and unknown to them. There's nothing to it - providing a correct long form having a deep insight into the community. I'm asking instead if the title is telling by itself (if it states all, what you have stated in your elaborated long forms) and dare to question it. This is my point.
Just imagine we encounter a community with the name Sacral Language & Usage. I would take it as Sacral Language & Sacral Usage (of sacral things). Would you take it as Sacral Language & Sacral Language Usage resp. Sacral Language & Usage of Sacral Language?
If you rather or clearly followed my interpretation I might have an explanation. If not, I'm in need of further help by you. The solution I see is that English is perceived accustically as neutral i.e. the perception doesn't allow to say if it's an adjective or a noun. (Although... If I'm not misguided, there actually is a difference with the word accentuation: English Language but English Usage.) Native speakers are so much used to it that the distinction plays no role even if it actually exists. You have a flying change from an adjective to a noun but you don't notice it. (Don't be alarmed. It just is as it is.) But as soon as you hear a clear adjective before Language the feeling arises that the same word before Usage can only be an adjective. Am I right? Please comment on it.
If so, I'd like to correct slightly the answer nearest to this solution by saying "it's not that the rule is mindlessly automatic - its application is like that" and mark it as accepted. It wouldn't rate other input as less valuable. It's been a good piece of teamwork.
Sorry. I couldn't help writing all this in order to transport my way of thinking to you. Feel free to reduce it to make it more suitable for a question.
And finally, there is another thing to ponder on. English Language is a general term. If there was such a community we would certainly expect that it deals with all the aspects of the English language i.e. incl. its usage. Therefore, it wouldn't be necessary to add Usage to the name (result: English Language & Usage) in order to include its usage. So, what does English Language & Usage possibly mean? It seems to mean the focus "on how it is normally used rather than arcane / obsolete grammar and vocabulary, and D-I-Y contrivances". But in that case the use of "&" is questionable. Why not English Language: Usage or English Language - Usage? But this is a step away from being a meta question.
Examples by number:
- English Language & Usage
- English Language & Its Usage
- English Language & The Usage of It
- English Language & English Usage