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main - intensifying adverb?

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main - intensifying adverb?

Postby Brazilian dude » Tue May 31, 2005 9:35 am

This is what I've found in the same Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde:
'The man at Maw's was main angry, sir, and he threw it back to me like so much dirt,' returned Poole.

Is main similar to very or other intensifying adverbs here? I've never seen this use of main. Is it chiefly dialectal or anything like that? Is it an old form of a flat adverb?

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Postby Apoclima » Tue May 31, 2005 6:10 pm

It's got to be used here as an adverb, but it does have a meaning as an adjective that I only felt from context here:

main

Exerted to the utmost; sheer: "by main strength."


It is like "sore afraid."

The adverb "mainly" (mostly) would not mean "exerted to the utmost."

I think that the closest would be "utterly angry."

"as angry as angry can get"

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Postby Brazilian dude » Tue May 31, 2005 10:13 pm

Right, that's what I referred to with flat adverb (not my coinage!): adverbs that have the same form as adjectives and don't take the usual ly. But my question still remains: have any of you heard that before? Is that dialectal or something?

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Postby tcward » Tue May 31, 2005 10:30 pm

Sounds dialectical. Never heard it. Garzo should be able to shine some light.

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Postby Brazilian dude » Tue May 31, 2005 10:37 pm

dialectalvs. dialectical

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Postby tcward » Tue May 31, 2005 10:40 pm

...and your point is? :)
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Postby Brazilian dude » Tue May 31, 2005 10:42 pm

My point is that both mean the same when referring to dialect(s), but only dialectical is used when referring to an exchange of ideas and so on.

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Postby Apoclima » Tue May 31, 2005 11:02 pm

BD:
Is "main" similar to very or other intensifying adverbs here?


Yes, unless you think utterly or extremely are not!

He war powerful angry!

BD:
Is it chiefly dialectal or anything like that?


Since I have never heard it, and since it comes from a book written in antiquated language, I would assume that it was or is dialectal.

BD:
Is it an old form of a flat adverb?


It is the only form of a old flat adverb! But I really think that it is adjective used as a adverb, like "powerful angry" or "dead serious." Probably spoken by a trusted servant of kitchen or grounds duties.

main

main (adj.)
c.1205, "large, bulky, strong," from O.E. mægen- "power, strength, force," used in compounds (see main (n.)), probably infl. by O.N. megenn (adj.) "strong, powerful." Sense of "chief" is c.1400.


OK?

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Postby Brazilian dude » Wed Jun 01, 2005 8:43 am

Yes, sir.

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Postby Garzo » Wed Jun 15, 2005 9:27 am

People who watch too much North-American telly tend towards a state of moral purity. Let me give you an example:

Garzo: How are you?
Square-eyes: I am good.
Garzo: Do you mean that you are in a state of moral purity?
Square-eyes: No, I mean that I am well; I've just been watching too much North-American telly.

Well, I don't actually have conversations like that, but I hope to one day. It is evidence of the blurred edges between these things called adverbs and adjectives.

The difficulty is with adjective/adverb pairs that have different meanings. This is often the case with instensifiers: their standard adverb form often has the meaning 'for the most part'. Thus, we have the difference between main angry and mainly angry. In modern standard English we tend to avoid these little problems: we don't use these adjective forms adverbally. However, this form is common in many dialects of colloquial English. Of course main is rather archaic in this usage, but other words are not. She'll be right busy come lambing would not sound strange around these parts.

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Postby Spiff » Wed Jun 15, 2005 9:49 am

A more likely conversation would be:

Garzo:How are you?
Square-eyes: I am good.
Garzo: Do you mean that you are in a state of moral purity?
Square-eyes: Huh???

Why "Square-eyes" by the way?
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Postby Garzo » Wed Jun 15, 2005 2:36 pm

My dear Spiff, what shape are the monitors on your spacecraft? I only ask as my father used to say that watching too much telly would main make my eyes square.

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Postby tcward » Wed Jun 15, 2005 3:00 pm

"Right" is quite commonly used as an intensifier here in the Southern US, as well.

I'll be right hungry come supper time.

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Postby Spiff » Fri Jun 17, 2005 3:42 am

We only use parallellograms on my planet.
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Postby Apoclima » Fri Jun 17, 2005 5:29 am

Square

* A square is a parallelogram with four right angles and four congruent sides.
* A square is both a rectangle and a rhombus and inherits all of their properties.


parallelograms

So a square is a parallelogram, and a rhombus, and a rectangle. Those squares really know how to fit in.

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