A Korean hiking guide book says “There is a galore of camellia trees” in a particular place. I had never encountered galore in this usage – only the equivalent of There are camellia trees galore – and would have thought that is was a second languagism, but Google shows about 228,000 results for “there is a galore of” (with quotation marks for an exact match), with the first results being fantastic ideas, falsehood, them, nuts, car gadgets and gizmos and yummy meat (plural countable nouns (plus them) and uncountable nouns). On the other hand Google Ngrams does not show any results for a galore of *_NOUN, but *_NOUN galore show opportunities, books, pictures, stories, flowers, bargains, problems, money, wealth and ideas (mostly positive, but including problems). It comes from Irish go leor (or leòr) / Scots Gaelic gu leòr enough, plenty (compare *There is an enough of camellia trees/There are enough camellia trees/There are camellia trees enough and *There is a plenty of camellia trees/There are plenty of camellia trees/There are camellia trees a(-)plenty).

Dictionaries don’t agree on what word class galore is, with the first three I consulted calling it an adverb, a postpositive determiner and an adjective. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language calls it a postpositive-only adjective, alongside aplenty.

PS the hiking guide book has undoubtable mistakes: “Wheelchair is market at the blue arrows for a wheelchair accessible areas.” I’m not going to write a post just about that.

PPS Further investigation shows that during the 19th century, galore was used as a noun: Wiktionary includes “a galore of fruits of all kinds” and Merriam-Webster “galores of bread and cheese” and “by that time I had galore” (compare enough). But that doesn’t explain how and why the noun usage so comprehensively fell out of use, or why it has been used by these widespread people recently.


Words from paradise

One of the choirs I sing in is rehearsing a work consisting of five movements each setting one word from the Bible. The words – holy, hallelujah, selah, hosanna and amen – are from Germanic, Hebrew, Greek and/or Latin, and are now different degrees of ‘English’.

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A few weeks ago I posted about the following sentence which I spotted in the preface to Merriam-Webster’s Concise Dictionary of English Usage:

A number of common spelling problems are also discussed briefly. While the emphasis of this work is on usage in writing, a small number of articles is devoted to problems of pronunciation.

(note: “A number … are”, but “a small number … is”.) I emailed the esteemed Geoffrey Pullum about this, and he wrote about it on the Lingua Franca blog of The Chronicle of Higher Education

His most recent article for Lingua Franca is about the south-eastern Indian language Telugu being the fastest-growing language in the USA, mostly because of the high number of people from that area employed in the IT industry, including the chief executive of Microsoft, Satya Nadella. He cites an article in Quartz India, and quotes the following sentence:

A slew of Telugu workers in the US has been shot dead in various incidents, from hate crimes to robbery attempts.

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