BIG

 

 

a) Keyness

 

The lemma ‘big’ was the two hundred and ninth most significant key word in the BEC corpus.

 

N

Word

bec freq.

bec.lst %

bnc freq.

bnc.lst %

Keyness

P

209

BIG

902

0.09

1,018

0.05

131.4

0.000000

 

b) Semantic Prosody

 

It might have been expected that a very general word such as ‘big’ would have no clear collocative relations with any particular words, nor any strong prosodic relations with any major lexical sets. However, it can be seen below to collocate with at least one large group - that of companies and institutions. It also forms part of several adjectival/noun phrases related to business (see the colligation section below).

 

Left: No clear groups identified.

 

 

Right: Three groups identified.

 

semantic prosody

frequency/ 587 & %

example

companies/institutions

140 - 23.85%

big banks

big business

big multi-nationals

money

28 - 4.77%

big amounts of money

big bucks

big fine

people*

18 - 3.06%

big men

bug guys

big customers

 

* some collocates here also refer to companies by using lexis related to people, e.g. the big players, the big boys

 

c) Three-word clusters

 

N

cluster

Freq.

1

of the big

23

2

was a big

12

3

is a big

11

4

one of the

11

5

have a big

9

6

the big three

8

7

a big impact

7

8

as big as

7

9

a big company

6

10

all the big

6

11

and the big

6

12

from the big

6

13

in a big

6

14

make a big

6

15

the big guys

6

16

there was a

6

17

with the big

6

18

a big difference

5

19

a big problem

5

20

a big way

5

21

for the big

5

22

it's a big

5

23

such a big

5

24

the big money

5

25

these are big

5

26

a big change

4

27

a big order

4

28

a very big

4

29

be a big

4

30

be as big

4

31

been a big

4

32

big impact on

4

33

got a big

4

34

it was a

4

35

made a big

4

36

most of the

4

37

some of the

4

38

there's a big

4

39

to make a

4

40

to the big

4

41

with a big

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

d) Macro-generic distribution

 

 

 

e) Colligation

 

COBUILD Sense 1 (a person or thing big in physical size)

51 instances - 8.51% of sample

Patterns: Adjective (graded)

big car, big computer, a big crane

 

COBUILD Sense 2 (consisting of many people or things)

17 instances - 2.89% of sample

Patterns: Adjective (graded)

There is a very big camp in Al Dunlap’s favor

big demographics

 

COBUILD Sense 3 (increase or change: great in degree, extent or importance)

308 instances - 52.47% of sample

Patterns: Graded adjective

big decisions, big gains, big impact, big problems

 

COBUILD Sense 4 (big organisation: corresponds mostly to semantic prosody right category 1 above)

172 instances - 29.3% of sample                     

Patterns: Graded adjective

Some of the big banks have been hit

Rugmark carpets will be distributed by big German retailers

 

COBUILD Sense 5 (big in something)

1 instance - 0.17% of sample

Redland is big in roof-tiles

 

COBUILD Sense 9 (a big word)

1 instance - 0.17% of sample

Patterns: Graded adjective - usually adjective-noun

There’s a big word for you. Adjudicator.

 

Other COBUILD Senses:

 

big deal:                        5 instances - 0.85% of sample

big business:                 8 instances - 1.36% of sample

big name:                      3 instances - 0.51% of sample

big money:                    7 instances - 1.19% of sample

big time:                        8 instances - 1.36% of sample

 

Other phrases:

 

(the) big picture:            4 instances - 0.68% of sample 

big Apple                     1 instance - 0.17% of sample

big bang:                       1 instance - 0.17% of sample

 

Other patterns:

 

i) A strong tendency to form post-modified compound nouns/adjectives:

Big Blue, big business, big money, big players, Big Bang, the Big Three, big-time

 

ii) Slightly more likely to be used with an indefinite article than a definite:

preceded by a - 160 instances - 27.25% of sample

preceded by the - 130 instances - 22.14% of sample

 

iii) big + on:

2 instances - 0.34% of sample

this hotel’s very big on training

companies are getting very big on technology

 

iv) (a) + big + if :

4 instances - 0.68% of sample

One of the very big ifs is Asia

Well, you have two very big ifs there, I think

 

f) Associates

 

N

WORD

NO. OF FILES

AS %

1

BIG

8

100.00

2

BILLION

6

75.00

3

COMPANIES

5

62.50