Date: Sun, 29 Jun 1997 09:37:48 -0400

From: "Dennis R. Preston" preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU

Subject: Re: galore


I'm not sure what level of variation you are looking for, but I have an odd distinction between

having things 'up the wazoo' (with considerable phonetic variation, e.g., 'kazoo,' 'gazoo,' but only

velars I note) when I am really fed up with whatever it is. Such things may be mass or even

abstract. (I've had it with semantics; I've got semantics up the wazoo!) But 'out the wazoo' is a

different matter; there I seem to have only an abundance (and it need not be annoying, but must

be concrete and count). (The weather's been so nice this year that we've got flowers out the

wazoo. *I like phonetics. I've got it out the wazoo.)

The source of the negative sense of 'up' seems obvious, but I wonder if my contrast in both sense

and the kind of NP which can be referred to is matched by others.


This is a response to a recent Linguist posting from Jules, which follows. (I

assume this is a fit topic for the list.)

I just read, belatedly, Alan Harris's communication re

punctuation. What struck me was not the inappropriate "'", but the

word 'galore'. What the heck is that? Is it an obligatorily

post-posed adjective? Is it unique in English? It can't be a matter

of idiomatic phrases, since it seems to me it can be added to noun

plural or mass noun: Come out to our ranch, we've got horses galore,

cattle galore, sheep galore, etc.

Not to mention that notoriously yclept girlfriend/moll of James Bond a few

decades back...

I assume (and Webster's corroborates) that 'galore' is indeed a postposed

adjective, and it's not unique in this status. 'aplenty', though it can also

be an adverb, occurs in the same adjectival frames as 'galore', with the same

quantificational flavor (sheep/horses/cattle aplenty), and at least for me

prepositional phrases like 'up the wazoo' (there are others, I'm sure) are

in the same ballpark. Any other intuitions, dialect variants, etc. out there?


Dennis R. Preston

Department of Linguistics and Languages

Michigan State University

East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA


Office: (517)432-1235

Fax: (517)432-2736