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 it can be read in full here.

Here’s some others 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

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