Lexeme: ‘spoil market’

My target phrase was ‘spoil market’, which we (speakers of Singapore English) use idiomatically to describe an act or performance that is far more elaborate or troublesome than the norm, e.g. marriage proposals – among other things that a GloWbE search (of the sort I describe in the previous post) might reveal.

All in all, we have evidence for two kinds of ‘spoil market’ in web English, business/economic and love/relationships. These seem mutually exclusive except in Singapore. Interestingly, ‘spoil market’ turned up no hits from Malaysia.

‘spoil market’ in this extended sense might be distinguished from the restricted Singaporean idiomatic usage in that the extended sense would allow constructions like ‘spoil the market’ and ‘spoil my/your/our market’. However, it is possible that there might be a semantically related construction (i.e. related to the idiomatic ‘spoil market’) in spoken Singapore English that is extendible in this way, e.g. ‘sorry for spoiling market guize’.

I posted a query for ‘spoil’ with only right-collocate ‘market’ at maximum distance 9, which turned up the following results:

4 hits for .sg (Singapore), excl. 1 rejected hit.: I had hoped for more hits here, but this is understandable given that the corpus search will turn up mainly blogs and not spoken English.

  • Here there are 2 hits for ‘spoil market’, one in a romantic context to describe a ‘guy’ whose actions might cause ‘every girl’ to ‘want something epic also’. The other is someone who blogs fashion reviews, arguing that her fellow bloggers should not accept free stuff from merchants to review, in lieu of presumably better payment.
  • There were also 2 hits for ‘spoil the market’, referring to rent and wages.
  • I rejected 1 hit, for ‘spoil your market image’.

3 hits for .∅ (the US), excl. 1 rejected hit:

  • The context of the 3 accepted hits was business analysis, i.e. ‘spoil the market’, ‘spoil our market’, ‘spoil both of their market strategies’
  • The rejected hit was about transportation delays causing vegetable produce to spoil on the way to the market.

3 hits for .ng (Nigeria), 1 hit for .gh (Ghana), 2 rejected hits from .gh: 

  • The 4 hits were all about the love market (marriage and relationships). Here there is ‘spoil my market’, and less fortunately how your family could ‘spoil your market’, as well as ‘dey spoil market’ (‘dey’ presumably for ‘they’).
  • The 2 rejected hits were about vegetables.

1 hit for .bd (Bangladesh)

  • In this case, the writer is discussing how risk-taking firms can “spoil” markets (the writer uses scare-quotes), citing Stiglitz (an economist) on markets.

1 hit for .in (India)

  • ‘investors can spoil the market’

Rejected 1 hit each for GB and .au (Australia)

  • These were false collocates, in that they occurred within 9 words to the right but in a different clause or sentence, e.g. ‘spoil a wonderful spin-off to please a different market’.

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