Does the term ''big university'' exist in English?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by tongue_of_colicab, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. tongue_of_colicab

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    Hi there,

    My uni got elected as one of the best universities in my country. Now all the people working for the school have this logo in their email saying: ''uni name'' best big Dutch university of applied sciences. It makes sence in Dutch but the way the translated it into English sounds wrong to me. Isnt it either a university or a university of applied sciences? As far as I know something like a big university doesnt make sense in English.

    Any native speakers to help me out here? :p
     
  2. Mize

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    University just means school with multiple schools/colleges. They can be big (Ohio State) or small (Johns Hopkins). So, yes, big university is a real English term.
     
  3. tongue_of_colicab

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    So you do actually say something like: I'm going to the big university of Amsterdam? Than do you also say I'm going to the small university of Amsterdam? So its only related to the size of the school?
     
  4. MfA

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    It's a bit of a silly adjective, major would make more sense.

    PS. not a native speaker though.
     
  5. Mize

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    No. You would say that OSU and UCLA are "big universities" while Harvard and Johns Hopkins are smaller universities.
     
  6. nintenho

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    Does "big" have to do with the school's size or prestige?
     
  7. nutball

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    If I'm correctly interpreting what you're saying, then no there's no equivalent in the (British) English university system. We don't really even have the equivalent of a university of applied sciences, or anything else for that matter. Universities are just universities.

    (We did used to have a two-stream system - universities and polytechnics - with polytechnics specialising in somewhat more applied/vocational courses. Polytechnics were all renamed as universities a couple of decades ago, by Thatcher IIRC, probably because polytechnic sounds too much like something the French would have).
     
  8. tongue_of_colicab

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    Not as far as I know. Maybe that is what they are trying to say by using the word big but you would never use something like that in Dutch and I never heard anything similair in English either so that is why I think it doesnt sound right.

    Yea I know about that. My English teacher last year told us something about that. The only difference with a university and a university of applied sciences is the number of master courses offerd. The Dutch education system is a bit weird regarding this.

    So basically something like a big university does not exist and if I would tell a random English person that i'm studying at the big university of Amsterdam they would just look at me with a weird face but if I would say i'm studying at the university of Amsterdam they would understand?
     
  9. nutball

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    Yes, that's correct.
     
  10. tongue_of_colicab

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    Ok so school is wrong. I'm gonna find somebody to complain to :p. It annoys me.
     
  11. Sxotty

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    Do you mean top tier? Research one institution? Or just large?
     
  12. tongue_of_colicab

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    Don't know what they mean. Its just a normal university, certainly not something special. Maybe they could be talking about the size but that would be rather weird too as Holland is a small country so the foreign students will very likely be used to Uni's bigger than ours.
     
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