feature performer

Discussion in 'English Only' started by miriam91, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. miriam91 Senior Member

    I would like to know what a "feature performer" is.
    I cannot provide any context unfortunately.

    Thank you for help
  2. Tochka Senior Member

    A "featured" performer, would be the performer who is being advertised/promoted as the star or one of the stars of the performance. I don't believe I've ever heard "feature performer," but I expect that if someone actually wrote or said that, it would mean a performer in a movie or other show (feature) [i.e. serving as an adjective based on the noun, "feature", as Giorgio Spizzi has suggested, infra. Depending on where you found or heard the phrase, however, I would expect that it was probably [based on the verb and] transcribed without the "d" because it [the "d"] was not heard. The "p" of "performer" would have caused the final "d" it to either have a very light sound or even drop out entirely, unless the speaker was articulating carefully.

    Compare the tendency of English speakers to say -- and nowadays very frequently even to write -- "You better do X," when the proper phrase is "You'd better do X" (meaning "You had better do X." The "d" is so lightly pronounced that it is barely heard. At least in the US, where English grammar seems to be taught less and less as more and more emphasis is placed on math and science), even well-educated people are now writing this expression without the necessary verb "to have".
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  3. Giorgio Spizzi Senior Member

    Hullo, miriam.

    In the expression "feature performer", "feature" functions as a noun, but one of the meanings of the transitive verb "feature" is "to include as a leading performer": This film features Dustin Hoffman (as a divorced father).

    I believe you should give us a larger portion of text, though.


  4. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Hi miriam,

    I've come across "feature performer" (not "featured") used in the US, mostly in the context of clubs, to mean a performer who does a brief run of appearances (maybe only one night, maybe several) — as distinct from permanently billed (or 'house') performers who have a long-term contract.

    It may refer to musicians, comedians, etc, but is probably most often heard in the context of strippers or erotic dancers.

  5. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    I guess you were following up Giorgio's post there, miriam — but I would suggest that "lead performer" [mentioned in deleted post] would correspond to "featured performer", rather than "feature performer".

    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  6. Tochka Senior Member

    As a technical matter, I don't believe you can say that "feature" is functioning as a noun in this case, but rather as an adjective derived from the noun "feature" (as opposed to my thought that it would be from the verb). Am thinking the proper term could be a nominal adjective?
  7. Tochka Senior Member

    Thanks for that thought, Miriam Ws*. I've lived my life in the US and have never heard "feature performer", but then I never do gigs in clubs either!
    -T :)
    (Apologies for posting twice in a row. Was going to correct this, but couldn't see how to delete the later comment to consolidate them! :( )

    *And further apologies for the name mix-up.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  8. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Agreed that it's functioning as an adjective, but it still is a noun. (If you have a rubber duck that you use as a bath-plug, it's still a rubber duck!). This is reflected in the various terms used for it by grammarians: adjectival noun (not nominal adjective), attributive noun, noun adjunct.

    The resulting phrase "feature performer" (in which the noun performer is the head-word, and feature is an attributive noun) is a noun phrase, and arguably can be called a compound noun (though some grammarians reserve that for terms that have become firmly established and may often be written with a hyphen or as one word: motor cycle, motor-cycle, motorcycle).

    As for its existence as an expression, you were beginning to make me doubt myself :p — so I googled it (in quotes) and found a lot of references (all US as far as I can see).

  9. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    "Feature performer" has about 10% of the number of hits that "featured performer" has. In my experience, it's not unusual to find a typo with 20-30% as many hits as the normally spelled phrase. This really doesn't prove anything either way.
    A feature performer sounds like someone who performs features (I have no idea what that means and I haven't heard it).
    A featured performer is someone whose performance is featured. This is the normal phrase as far as I'm concerned.
  10. Tochka Senior Member

    As I indicated, my lack of familiarity with this expression -- if it has to do with clubs -- isn't to be taken as too strong an indicator! ;)

    But, wait! Interesting: I just googled "feature performer" -- but without the quotes -- to see if I could get some context on use, and MY google only came up with hits for "featured performer" for the entire first page--and Google's suggestions for further searches also all used "featured performer."
    [Missed your note that you'd put the phrase in quotes.]
    Here are the suggested searches from that search:
    featured performer 2011 featured merchant 2011
    featured performer festival featured infrastructure 2011
    featured event 2011 featured supplier 2011
    featured event festival featured infrastructure festival

    Hmmm. I next tried putting the expression in quotes, for an exact use, and low* and behold up came videos of pole dancers and club references!
    This may be a developing new wave of usage.

    Thanks for the terminology! I see that "nominal adjective" is the term for the reverse phenomenon: an adjective used as a noun.

    *Good catch, Giorgio S!
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  11. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Agreed, Myridon, that google hits are a poor way to prove anything. I wasn't trying to show that "feature performer" is an alternative to "featured performer", but that it exists as a separate term with a specific meaning. If you look at the content of those "feature performer" hits, you'll see that it's not a typo, but an established phrase (even if not familiar to everyone); and if you search for "feature dancer", you'll see even more. (Here's one example that gives a clear definition of "feature dancer" vs "house dancer").

    I first came across it when doing some proofreading for a US entertainment organisation. I checked, and discovered that it was a fully accepted term in that business. That was in the context of comedians and singers appearing in night-clubs. Now it seems, as I mentioned earlier and as Tochka remarked, to have become prevalent in the strip-club context.

    As for the semantic comparison, I guess you wouldn't object to "feature writer" (who writes features in a magazine or newspaper), as distinct from "featured writer" (someone whose works are featured in, say, a literary review magazine or TV show). The semantics are the same for "feature performer/dancer" and "featured performer/dancer".

  12. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I can't believe you have no more context, miriam....

    You must have come across this expression somewhere. Where did you come across it? Who said it? To whom? What were they talking about?
  13. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    I will never be convinced that at least some small percentage of the "feature performer" uses are typos. If I accept that some of them are not typos, then I am also convinced that some of the uses of "featured performer" are also typos. I'm not sure how I would determine which are typos and which are not unless "feature performer" is used in some context where "featured performer" is never used and vice versa ... but there are typos in every context so it's a catch-22 either way. ;)
  14. Tochka Senior Member

    I'd never heard of a "feature performer" before this post and also assumed it had to be an error. Having seen what comes up with a Google search of "feature performer" in quotes, however, I have to agree with Ws. It seems pretty clear that this is a new jargon usage, probably restricted to the context of XXX-clubs with pole dancers or clubs with open mics. Since the performers are not "featured" above any others in these examples, it's pretty clear they are not "featured performers" as that expression is normally understood. Although it's possible that this usage evolved from a misuse or misunderstanding of "featured performer" (there are plenty such errors flying around today), even if so, this expression does certainly seem to have a taken on a life of its own.

    I think the much greater percentage of hits for "featured performer" vs. "feature performer" is more indicative of the former being standard usage and the latter being a new term and less common, rather than being due to typos alone. Have to say I'm with Ws on this.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012

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