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tashirosgt
2013-Aug-12, 03:20 PM
How did the idiomatic use of the word "just" arise - as in "I just know it's going to happen" or "She just nags when she doesn't get her way" ?

Often, "Just" could be replaced by "merely", as in "That's just an imaginary relation". However, I don't know what would replace it in "I just know it's going to happen".

SeanF
2013-Aug-12, 04:13 PM
Often, "Just" could be replaced by "merely", as in "That's just an imaginary relation". However, I don't know what would replace it in "I just know it's going to happen".
"Simply," perhaps?

Then again, maybe part of the reason the word "just" came to be used in that sense is precisely because there isn't any other word that works. :)

Tobin Dax
2013-Aug-12, 07:03 PM
"Simply," perhaps?

Then again, maybe part of the reason the word "just" came to be used in that sense is precisely because there isn't any other word that works. :)

So it's used because there just isn't any other word that works? :D

Trebuchet
2013-Aug-12, 07:08 PM
If something if simply fair, can we say it is just just?

SeanF
2013-Aug-12, 07:33 PM
So it's used because there just isn't any other word that works? :D
Just so. :)

nosbig5
2013-Aug-12, 07:48 PM
Also used to diminish others' perception of the severity of a situation.

Alarm bells go off in my head when I hear someone suggest that "we should just do it this way." The action being recommended is often not as simple or problem-free as the use of the word 'just' is intended to imply.

Jens
2013-Aug-12, 11:07 PM
I think it's a bit complex. First, I don't think it's idiomatic, but essentially the normal use of just as an adverb. But I think there are times when it's used as a kind of meaningless word to soften a sentence, in the same way that we say, "it would be greatly appreciated if you could honor us with your presence" instead of "please come."

danscope
2013-Aug-13, 12:17 AM
" Just saying.... " A lot of that going around.

swampyankee
2013-Aug-13, 12:34 AM
Nobody's posted a dictionary link (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/just) yet?

Cougar
2013-Aug-13, 01:10 AM
I think it's a bit complex.

Quite. It obviously takes on different meanings according to context. The OP sentences are interesting examples: "She just nags when she doesn't get her way" implies, to me anyway, that she does nothing else but nag in that situation. In other words, she only nags. But then the word 'just', as in "I just know it's going to happen" might be taken to mean different things - with no change to the sentence - depending on the context of the sentence....

My research :rolleyes: shows it to be an adverbial intensifier (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intensifier), or a degree adverb. I liked this little blurb from wiki:


"...they also qualify as expressive attributives, because they function as semantically vacuous filler." :p



Of course, the usage of 'just' is not restricted to an adverb role. "That's just great!" Context can completely flip the meaning of that one....

Jens
2013-Aug-13, 01:32 AM
My research :rolleyes: shows it to be an adverbial intensifier (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intensifier), or a degree adverb. I liked this little blurb from wiki:


"...they also qualify as expressive attributives, because they function as semantically vacuous filler." :p



Of course, the usage of 'just' is not restricted to an adverb role. "That's just great!" Context can completely flip the meaning of that one....

In "that's just great," the "just" is an adverb, because it's modifying an adjective.

I like that quote about "semantically vacuous filler"; that's actually what I was getting at with my mention of "it would be greatly appreciated..."

With regard to "that's just great," my question would be, how is that different from "that's great." The answer I think is that it isn't any different, and hence in that sentence, "just" is an example of "semantically vacuous filler." Though it may be vacuous filler trying to act as a marker of emphasis. Like when you say, "well that's just incredibly totally enormously great." All the other words are trying to create emphasis, but there's a limit to how much you can emphasize things. :)

Buttercup
2013-Aug-13, 01:58 AM
Like...just...wow. You know? ;)

Jens
2013-Aug-13, 02:53 AM
Like...just...wow. You know? ;)

There's something really, like interesting about the use of like in that way. It's just something I noticed, but young people in Japan often use (and are ridiculed for using) the phrase "mitai na" in the middle of sentences in the same way that English speaking teenagers use "like" about five times in every sentence (and I did it myself copiously!). And the interesting thing is that "mitai na" means almost precisely "like"! So I have a like hypothesis that it's something that young people kind of like sort of do naturally to signal their "inferior" status in the social hierarchy. Stating something strongly makes it sound like you are an older member of the tribe with actual authority.

It would be a great topic for a dissertation in cultural anthropology.

Solfe
2013-Aug-13, 03:07 AM
I tend to use it as filler, but often I can use it to be exact or to imply something is not kosher.

Exact - Just one inch.
Non-kosher - The sidewalk was just big enough for the dump truck to drive down.

Jens,

That is an interesting observation about youthful people. I sat next to a guy in a math class and he prefaced every question with a "I have a doubt..." It wasn't that he doubted, it was that he didn't arrive at the answer the taught way and wondered if it was a correct method. When I spoke to him he never "doubted", he always had an exact answer "right or wrong".

I wonder how many little buffer phrases there are around the world.

HenrikOlsen
2013-Aug-13, 06:12 AM
Almost every example of the use of just that's been mentioned so far depends heavily on how it's spoken for its meaning, it can diminish and exaggerate in the same sentence depending on which part is emphasized.

It's one of those words that when they're used in spoken language there's not much doubt about what you mean, but it should used really carefully in writing because of the ambiguity.

galacsi
2013-Aug-13, 09:55 AM
IMO , It could come from french influence , as seams to be confirmed by the online etymology dictionary : http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=just&allowed_in_frame=0



just (adj.) (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=just&allowed_in_frame=0) http://www.etymonline.com/graphics/dictionary.gif (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=just)late 14c., "righteous in the eyes of God; upright, equitable, impartial; justifiable, reasonable," from Old French juste "just, righteous; sincere" (12c.), from Latin iustus "upright, equitable," from ius "right," especially "legal right, law," from Old Latin ious, perhaps literally "sacred formula," a word peculiar to Latin (not general Italic) that originated in the religious cults, from PIE root *yewes- "law" (cf. Avestan yaozda- "make ritually pure;" see jurist (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=jurist&allowed_in_frame=0)). The more mundane Latin law-word lex covered specific laws as opposed to the body of laws. The noun meaning "righteous person or persons" is from late 14c.
just (adv.) (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=just&allowed_in_frame=0) http://www.etymonline.com/graphics/dictionary.gif (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=just)"merely, barely," 1660s, from Middle English sense of "exactly, precisely, punctually" (c.1400), from just (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=just&allowed_in_frame=0) (adj.), and paralleling the adverbial use of French juste. Just-so story first attested 1902 in Kipling, from the expression just so "exactly that, in that very way" (1751).

I though of that because in french we use "juste" in exactly (or "just") the same ways as in english.

swampyankee
2013-Aug-13, 12:13 PM
I've no doubt it was that French influence. They took over England and messed up English, and now the French keep whining about how we're messing up French. Ain't payback a ..... ;)

As an aside, one way to find if something is an idiom would be to do a literal translation into another language; since "just" is used in accord to one of its several dictionary meanings, I don't think the usage is idiomatic. The usage may be imprecise, but we speak English, not Smalltalk, and imprecision is a (mis)feature of natural language.

Buttercup
2013-Aug-13, 12:44 PM
There's something really, like interesting about the use of like in that way. It's just something I noticed, but young people in Japan often use (and are ridiculed for using) the phrase "mitai na" in the middle of sentences in the same way that English speaking teenagers use "like" about five times in every sentence (and I did it myself copiously!). And the interesting thing is that "mitai na" means almost precisely "like"! So I have a like hypothesis that it's something that young people kind of like sort of do naturally to signal their "inferior" status in the social hierarchy. Stating something strongly makes it sound like you are an older member of the tribe with actual authority.

It would be a great topic for a dissertation in cultural anthropology.

Yes, that is interesting. :)

Cougar
2013-Aug-13, 05:36 PM
In "that's just great," the "just" is an adverb, because it's modifying an adjective.

Well, that was just stupid of me. :doh:

galacsi
2013-Aug-13, 09:46 PM
I've no doubt it was that French influence. They took over England and messed up English, and now the French keep whining about how we're messing up French. Ain't payback a ..... ;)



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