Sequences of size adjectives in text
This paper reports on a study of attributive adjective sequences belonging to the semantic field of size, examples of which are ‘enormous great’ and ‘wee little’. It takes as its starting point a brief outline of the phenomenon provided by the <i>Cambridge Grammar of the English Language</i> (Huddleston & Pullum, 2002), in which it is referred to as ‘intensificatory tautology’. The paper begins by defining the lexical set to be investigated, and thereafter provides details of the relevant adjectival sequences found in the British National Corpus. Particular attention is paid to the relatively frequent pairs <i>great big, tiny little</i> and <i>little tiny</i>. Information is also given with regard to other semantic fields which corpus data suggests could usefully be investigated.