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2010 | 20 | 2 | 71-85

Article title

Bags of Talent, a Touch of Panic, and a Bit of Luck: The Case of Non-Numerical Vague Quantifiers


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Theoretically anchored in Channell's monograph (1994), this paper focuses on one type of vague language manifestations, i.e. non-numerical vague quantifiers (e.g. bags of, heaps of, a touch of, umpteen, oodles) in their non-literal (figurative) meaning, as in bags of talent, oceans of energy, an iota of common sense, etc. These overt language manifestations of informal (and preferably spoken) interaction are approached from quantitative and qualitative perspectives, with the activation of both the vertical axis of paradigmatic alternation (bags of, lots of, loads of, oodles, …) and the horizontal axis of syntagmatic co-occurrence of vague quantifiers with nominal collocates (a bag of trouble/ tricks /nonsense/ nerves…). Selected samples of a corpus-based comparison of English (BNC data) and Czech (CNK data) have been discussed with the aim of pinpointing some of the potential sources of unwanted inferences or negative transfers between typologically remote languages used in a different socio-cultural setting.


  • Pragensia- redakce, Ústav pro jazyk český AV ČR, v.v.i., Letenská 4, 118 51 Praha 1, Czech Republic


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