New phrase much

Perhaps you’ve noticed a slight dropoff from the normally low-frequency posting here. Well, whatever it is that caused it, it’s also causing more cars to be on the road every day, and more people to be on various college campuses. In any case, I have a question. It involves things like this:

> For example, in the item description she busts out with the following paragraph: “If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me! I do have cats, but I keep them away from the fabrics/craft area.” Uh… non sequitur much? ([link](http://technabob.com/blog/2008/06/07/show-your-duck-hunt-lightgun-cuff/))
>
> Your writer’s true colors are revealed when they refer to a Big Mac as “charred flesh”. Ummm, vegan much? Thank you, and have a nice day. ([link](http://www.kansan.com/stories/2007/sep/06/editorial/))
>
> Uh, okay. Prejudiced much? ([link](http://forums.quizilla.com/showthread.php?t=59819&page=2))
>
> Beetle: uh, hmmm…literate much? ([link](http://www.usmagazine.com/morning_rush_donald_sends_barbara))

Not part of my idiolect much? I have to admit that this is not really part of my speech, and I don’t have a good grasp on how to use it and what phrases can the much-ified (thus leaning on the crutch of there sometimes being as uh/um before the item in question). And it sure seems like there must have been some popular or cult individual who popularized this sort of thing – any ideas?

And it could be that I’m not really all that sure what these things _mean_, at least in the semantic details. That is to day, in something like _busy much?_ or _come here much?_, you’re asking about frequency. In _enjoy movies much?_ you’re asking about degree/extent (or possibly frequency…I suppose). In something like _non sequitur much?_ is the person (sarcastically) asking about the frequency of non sequiturs (by some individual), or is that not really what’s going on?

Who picks up the phone

In the March 19th issue of the Economist, there is an article “Kamikaze Politics” about political scandals in Japan, which has the following two sentences.

> At midweek a new deputy governor, Masaaki Shirakawa, looked likely, at least for a while, to fill the vacuum—an unnecessary one, since candidates acceptable to both sides have been there for the choosing all along, notably Haruhiko Kuroda, head of the Asian Development Bank. By not putting him forward, Mr Fukuda showed himself unable and unwilling even to _pick up the phone to the opposition_.

_Pick up the phone to_? What’s that?

A cursory examination of google search results indicates that this seems to be a UK and Australian thing to say. If it happens in America, I’ve certainly never heard it. It’s a nice example of a multiword expression. What’s interesting is that it’s a communication verb that incorporates the means of communication (like _phone_, _fax_, _email_, and _write_) but which, perhaps due to syntax of the words in the expression, requires the person called to be expressed with the preposition _to_ (like _talk_, _speak_, and _write_).

(yes, _write_ goes in both places: _I write (letters) to my aunt every week_, but _I write my uncle every month_)

Beyond picker upper

It seems like one of those things that keeps getting “casually discovered”–that is, that I hear mention of at least once a year–is the result of applying the agentive -_er_ suffix to particle verbs like _pick up_ and _clean out_. What’s interesting is that the most common result (according to some study [studies? -I’ve only seen a 1978 manuscript by Moira Yip cited wrt this issue]) is _picker upper_ and _cleaner outer_. There are some interesting observations made by David Mortensen in [this post](http://ablauttime.blogspot.com/2004/09/passers-by-be-damned.html) of his now archive-only blog.

But how about this: what do you do with _take advantage of_? Well, today, I somewhat consciously produced _taker advantage ofer_. A quick search on Google reveals:

> Kira I Am: does it say that kkira is the numbe rone drunk girl taker advantage ofer? [link](http://zork.net/fortunes/xkcd)

Yes! This seems to be a one-line extract from some sort of IRC or similar chat session. I especially like the semantic undergoer expressed as a pre-modifier.

In any case, this seems like an interesting test case for models of realizational morphology, as there is more than just a head verb and a particle. Exactly which bits of the word _are_ eligible for the morphological process?