We recently dug out a photo taken on my 21st birthday. The picture has faded with time and become discoloured and stuck to the glass of the frame it was in. However, the photograph is remarkable for one thing. My twenty-one year old son, Sam (who is a very good-looking lad) looks just like I did at his age (though he doesn’t have the dodgy moustache). One person who saw the picture said; “he really is Eddie’s son”.
Now, does this mean that Dave (who doesn’t look like I did at his age) is not my son? Does it mean that Sam is my son and not Sue’s son? Of course not!
In this context the phrase “Eddie’s son” has two meanings. The primary meaning is that Sam (and Dave) is my biological descendant and all of the family and cultural links that this involves. The second meaning is that Sam (but not Dave) bears a physical resemblance to me.
The phrase “Eddie’s son” (or “son of Eddie”) has two distinct meanings. In some languages it would be necessary to translate these two meanings in different ways to avoid confusion.
There is no prize for pointing out which prominent blogger might be pleased by the poster on my bedroom wall in the picture.