A load of vague non-numerical quantifiers

Cross-disciplinary  academic progress in vagueness has recently been augmented  with a paper from Prof. PhDr. Jarmila Tárnyiková CSc. at Palacký University, in Olomouc, Czech Republic. The professor has authored one of the very few papers to examine and compare English and Czech Non-numerical Vague Quantifiers (also known as Vague Non-numerical Quantifiers – VnQs).
Some examples from the paper :
• Piles of
• Oodles of
• Mountains of
• A Smidgen of
• A Dash of
• A Pinch of
“The prototypical structural sequence is [VnQ + of + N], as in a bag of nerves, bags of energy, mountains of books, etc. The VnQ is nominal, mostly expressed by a Noun, exceptionally by an Adjective (cf. umpteen, as in umpteen days, umpteen things).”
The professor’s corpora-based work suggests that the study of  “… vague non-numerical quantification is a highly complex field of enquiry in which the activation of both the vertical axis of paradigmatic alternation and the horizontal axis of syntagmatic co-occurrence have to be taken into consideration.”

Bags of Talent, a Touch of Panic, and a Bit of Luck: The Case of Non-Numerical Vague Quantifiers
is published in Linguistica Pragensia, Volume 20, Number 2 / 2010.

And can be read in full here

In the interests of further VnQ research, Improbable urges those that the author calls “computer-aided armchair linguists” to send us more examples – here’s some that didn’t make the paper.
• A shedload of
• A soupçon of
• A tsunami of
• A knob of
• A glug of
• A whit of
• A dollop of
• A scintilla of
• A gnat’s of

BONUS [August 23, 2011]: Tom Tritton’s take on this

3 Responses to “A load of vague non-numerical quantifiers”

  1. Peter Yohe Says:

    Well I definitely enjoyed reading it. This tip offered by you is very useful for correct planning.

  2. Cody Drewing Says:

    whoah this blog is magnificent i love reading your articles. Keep up the great work! You know, many people are hunting around for this information, you can help them greatly.

  3. Kimberlie Ansara Says:

    Thank you for sharing superb informations. Your site is very cool. I am impressed by the details that you have on this site. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for more articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found just the info I already searched everywhere and simply couldn’t come across. What a great web-site.

Leave a Reply