basketball --- (blend?)

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Fri Jan 21 03:26:44 UTC 2011

Maybe this is a blend: "Nobody makes bigger shots than..." and "Nobody makes more big shots than..."
It's not entirely synonymous, but it may be close enough to have blended in the mind of the speaker.
Gerald Cohen


From: American Dialect Society on behalf of Laurence Horn, Thu 1/20/2011 8:47 AM

At 1:11 AM -0500 1/20/11, Victor Steinbok wrote:
>I can almost understand what the ESPN announcer was trying to say:
>"Nobody makes more bigger shots than Chauncy Billups."
>"More" and "bigger" are meant to be parallel, but it doesn't quite work.
>One reading would be [more [bigger shots]], but this begs for antecedent
>for "bigger"--bigger than what? Another reading is "more [and] bigger
>shots", but this is also odd. One thing that was /not/ implied was the
>nonstandard [[more bigger] shots]. The actual implication might have
>been something like, "No one makes more big shots /or/ bigger shots than
>Chauncy Billups." In other words, he makes a lot of very important
>shots. But the hyperbolic got lost somewhere in the comparative.
>     VS-)
Yes, these have been discussed somewhere among those examples of
"Escher sentences" that sound fine until you start to try to parse
them.  Here's a bit of discussion from Language Log on another
species of this genus:
Arnold may be able to locate some discussion in the literature of the
Janus-scale comparatives like Victor's (or the related "Nobody makes
bigger shots more often than..."); I remember first hearing one from
Barbara Partee but I don't know if there's a write-up anywhere.


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