Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Cambridge University Press!


Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

We Have a New Site!

With the help of your donations we have been making good progress on designing and launching our new website! Check it out at!
***We are still in our beta stages for the new site--if you have any feedback, be sure to let us know at***

Academic Paper

Title: From twig-skinny to Kate Moss skinny: expressing degree with common and proper nouns
Author: Turo Vartiainen
Linguistic Field: Cognitive Science; Semantics; Syntax
Subject Language: English
Abstract: This article provides a constructional (CxG) analysis of N-ADJ compounds in which the noun receives a degree reading (e.g. bullet-straight, Kennedy-handsome). A semantic analysis based on similes and scale matching is provided, and the recent history and increased productivity of the construction are examined in light of data from both the Corpus of Historical American English and a range of present-day corpora. The article introduces new evidence of the increased functional flexibility of both common and proper nouns in English and discusses the ongoing conventionalisation of proper noun degree modifiers in both American English and other varieties of English. The results of the study suggest that the recent introduction of proper noun degree modifiers has been supported by both constructional (semantic) change and macro-trends that have affected English usage more generally.


This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 23, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

Return to TOC.

View the full article for free in the current issue of
Cambridge Extra Magazine!
Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page