LINGUIST List 3.75

Fri 24 Jan 1992

Disc: Postposed Intensifiers in English

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Directory

  1. John Hughes, Re: 3.065 Not, Big Time, Synaesthesia
  2. Gregory Ward, postposed intensifiers in English
  3. Zvi Gilbert, Re: "major", "big time"
  4. John Hughes, Re: 3.065 Not, Big Time, Synaesthesia
  5. Ron Smyth, Re: 3.61 Clusters

Message 1: Re: 3.065 Not, Big Time, Synaesthesia

Date: Thu, 23 Jan 92 12:14:52 ESRe: 3.065 Not, Big Time, Synaesthesia
From: John Hughes <hughesasel.udel.edu>
Subject: Re: 3.065 Not, Big Time, Synaesthesia

Perhaps I talk like an undergrad, but I am quite familiar with the use of
the phrase "big time." It's not just an intensifier; in fact, it feels to
me more of a verbal modifier than an adjectival one. While you can say

I'm hungry big time

you can also say

Wow, you screwed up big time

which is one of the most common stock phrases I hear/use "big time" in.
Interestingly, I can't think of a single transitive sentence that allows
me to use "big time" that doesn't involve messing something up:

You screwed up/messed up/ruined that paper big time.
*You did good on that paper big time.
*You sang that song big time.

Perhaps maybe you could say

?I need some money big time.

In any event, "big time" seems to modify a phenomenon that is somehow bad,
but maybe there are examples I can't think of.

John Hughes
University of Delaware
hughescis.udel.edu
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Message 2: postposed intensifiers in English

Date: Thu, 23 Jan 92 11:21:40 CSpostposed intensifiers in English
From: Gregory Ward <wardpico.ling.nwu.edu>
Subject: postposed intensifiers in English

In addition to 'big time', there are also the postnominal
(obligatorily so) intensifiers 'galore' and 'a-plenty'.

Gregory Ward
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Message 3: Re: "major", "big time"

Date: Thu, 23 Jan 1992 12:29:30Re: "major", "big time"
From: Zvi Gilbert <zgilbertepas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: Re: "major", "big time"


> Date: Thu, 16 Jan 1992 09:34 EST
> >From: I'm not short, merely vertically challenged.
 <SDFNCRritvax.isc.rit.edu>
> Subject:, adverb innovations
>
> On another note, have people heard "major" and "big time"? "major" seems
> to be pretty straightforward, as in "We're/you're(*I'm) talking major
> revisions here." "Big time," which is not in my dialect, is a little
> weirder:
>
> He screwed up big time.
>
> It has a sort of pidgin flavor to it, but I'm curious about other uses.
> Susan Fischer
>

Pidgin? Hmmm....

Major is completely productive in my dialect (young (20s) Southern
Ontario). "Major", as an adjective-type general intesifier can fit
with just about anything... "That's a major problem," "He's a major
stud," etc. etc.

And I think "I'm talking major revisions," is perfectly ok, even
though you starred it.

"Big time" seems to be only used in contexts of commenting on
situations, with a tendancy towards negative situations... "You were a
jerk big time." is fine, but "You were a hero big time," sounds odd.

Hope this helps major big time.

--Zvi Gilbert (zgilbertepas.utoronto.ca)
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Message 4: Re: 3.065 Not, Big Time, Synaesthesia

Date: Thu, 23 Jan 92 13:24:55 ESRe: 3.065 Not, Big Time, Synaesthesia
From: John Hughes <hughesasel.udel.edu>
Subject: Re: 3.065 Not, Big Time, Synaesthesia

Actually, there is another expression, "in a big way", that is basically
synonymous with "big time", both meaning more or less "to a great extent":

I'm hungry big time/in a big way/to a great extent
You screwed up big time/in a big way/to a great extent
You won big time/in a big way/to a great extent
She cussed you out big time/in a big way/to a great extent

Big time still seems to be most felicitous with negative things, however
(except for the "win big time", the only positive example I could think of).

John Hughes
University of Delaware
hughescis.udel.edu
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Message 5: Re: 3.61 Clusters

Date: Thu, 23 Jan 92 14:14:01 ESRe: 3.61 Clusters
From: Ron Smyth <smythlake.scar.utoronto.ca>
Subject: Re: 3.61 Clusters

Re: "Major": I often hear "He screwed up majorly".
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