Monday, 9 January 2012

Weird and wonders

Recently there was a trailer for a Radio 4extra programme hosted by Mel Giedroyc. In the trailer she used the phrase
Life's weird and wonders
and I liked it. I don't know if it was a slip of the tongue which they decided to leave in, or if it was done on purpose. I presume, as it was a scripted and recorded thing, that it must be on purpose.

What's unusual about it is that we have an adjective weird co-ordinated with a noun wonders. Normally this would be bad. But we have a phrase that's become a fixed expression, weird and wonderful. When a phrase becomes fixed like this it can engage in some odd behaviour that a composite phrase wouldn't normally do. It starts to behave almost like it's a single word (it's become lexicalised). And wonderful can be made into a noun by removing the adjectival suffix -ful, so it stands to reason that the 'word' weirdandwonderful can as well. More lexicalisation!

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