Pullum on bigly
Posted: 19 October 2016 02:43 AM   [ Ignore ]
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http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=28898

Believe it or not, there is potential theoretical relevance. If the formation of adverbs like carefully from adjective stems like careful is a matter of lexical word formation (in other words, if it is derivational morphology, hence appropriately discussed in Chapter 18 of The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language), then we should expect to find arbitrary lexical exceptions, and the absence of lexemes such as *bigly, *littlely, *bluely, *oldly, *youngly, etc., is to be expected. Lexical word-formation is riddled with such gaps: take a look at the table I gave in this post, comparing the strikingly irregular pattern seen in horror / horrify / horrific / horrid with terror / terrify / terrific / *terrid and stupor / stupefy / *stupific / stupid and fervor / *fervify / *fervific / fervid and so on.

Odd set of examples. Bluely, oldly, youngly are well-established and not exceedingly rare, with good coverage in the OED.
Bigly was common enough a century ago but has since petered out.
Littlely as an adverb has a few OED cites but littly (adv) is the more common spelling.

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Posted: 19 October 2016 07:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Bluely, oldly, youngly are well-established and not exceedingly rare,

I had no idea that these words exist!

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Posted: 20 October 2016 01:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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FWIW I have heard Drumpf speak the phrase that sparked this discussion about defective forms and it is clear to me that he has been saying “big league” but with significantly less emphasis on the league including an almost whispering of the g

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Posted: 20 October 2016 03:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Faldage - 20 October 2016 01:56 AM

FWIW I have heard Drumpf speak the phrase that sparked this discussion about defective forms and it is clear to me that he has been saying “big league” but with significantly less emphasis on the league including an almost whispering of the g

Yes

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Posted: 21 October 2016 11:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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My family routinely use bigly among ourselves, in what I think is an idiosyncrasy of our own - at least, I’ve never heard anyone else use it - based on big in the sense ‘generous, magnanimous’ (as in ‘That was big of him’).  As, for example, ‘“You can have a lick of my ice cream cone”, said my elder brother bigly’.

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