After the final presidential debate on October 19, there was a lot of reaction over Donald Trump’s apparent use of the word “bigly.”
“Bigly” was on top of Google search all day Thursday, and some thought it is going to be the next “yuuuge”.
However, many wondered if Trump actually said “big league”. Both are real words if you look them up in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, but “big league”, Webster points out, is rarely used as an adverb.
And “bigly” just sounds dumber.
So did Trump say “big league” or “bigly”? Some of those wondering were actually trained linguists–one of whom, at the University of California, decided to decide the matter, once and for all.
Susan Lin of Berkeley analyzed Trump’s speech patterns , discovering the presence of a “velar pinch” at the end of some of his phrases. A velar pinch is a linguistic term for the lip movement that produces a “g” sound. Based on the existence of this velar pinch, Lin concluded that Trump was in fact saying “big league”.
Others linguists seemed to have agreed with Lin’s findings.
It’s def “big-league”-check out that velar pinch! (no it’s not something Trump does to women; is a cue to /g/). Spectrogram from Susan Lin! pic.twitter.com/91AdY60VN4
— Jennifer Nycz (@jennycz) October 20, 2016
DT likes the adverbial "big league." Lots of people misunderstood him last time as saying "bigly."
— Bryan A. Garner (@BryanAGarner) October 20, 2016
Who cares if he's saying "bigly" or "big league" he's human garbage #debatenight
— OhNastyTwitnt (@OhNoSheTwitnt) October 20, 2016
Can I get a clarification… Bigly or Big League both seem dumb, but one is worse than the other. #Debates2016
— Sean Francis (@SeanDFrancis) October 20, 2016
"Bigly" is now the top trending search on all of Google #PresidentialDebate
— GoogleTrends (@GoogleTrends) October 20, 2016
Big league or bigly?? #debatenight We still aren't sure, but bigly IS a word, we promise!
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) October 20, 2016