Mark J. Reed wrote:

> quoting me:
>> Is the direct object, here an iron lung type of implement, implied?
> No; in fact, an indirect object is ungrammatical here.  You can't
> "decompress the patient the iron lung" or whatever.  I don't think
> "decompress" can ever take an indirect object, and any of the
> prepositional phrase variants would actually be analyzed differently.

Couldn't you have an indirect object if it's preceded by a  
preposition? What is 'for the patient' in the sentence: "She  
decompressed the respirator for the patient"?

>> verb extend to mean 'subjecting someone to the process of  
>> decompression', so
>> that the object really is a direct object?
> That.  This sort of scope widening happens all the time in English.
> You "change the baby" (meaning, change the baby's diaper).

I guess you're right. The widespread scope-widening in English is one  
of the chief time-consumers in the translation business. It often  
amazes me how a language with next to a million words prefers to  
extend the meaning of a few favourite words instead of using all of  
its variety.

> Possibly
> the same sort of construct appears in e.g.  "rotate your tires"
> (meaning your car's tires), but that could just be transitive
> possession.  They are, after all, your tires...

Unlike the former scope-widening, this happens often in Norwegian,  
too. The sense that cars and other instruments are extensions of our  
bodies must be prevalent. I don't think most people feel that way  
about computers, though. They are mostly alien entities with a will  
of their own. Animating inanimate objects is rather common otherwise  
as well. "This car drove to the left. That car hit the other car." etc.

Den 6. mai. 2009 kl. 17.25 skreiv Paul Hartzer:
> I'm not familiar with the term, but from a quick Googling, it looks  
> like metonymy to me (although Googling |iron lung decompress| turns  
> up this post as the second hit). Is it the iron lung that's  
> decompressed, or the patient's lungs? If the latter, then "the  
> patient" is the syntactic direct object, by way of a metonymic  
> connection between "the patient" and "the lungs of the patient."

It's the iron lung, or more likely a respirator of sorts or a  
hyperbaric chamber like the one Garth mentions. The lungs will be  
decompressed as well, of course, but the idea is to decompress the  
machine - something that's done when the treatment is terminated.