The first to chime in was Susan Lin, an assistant linguistics professor at the University of California Berkley. In a post to the Facebook group Friends of Berkley Linguists, Lin took a crack at getting to the bottom of the debate. "'Bigly' or 'big league'? The latter, I'm quite sure," Lin wrote.
The evidence, she says, are in a spectrogram of Trump saying the mystery word(s). A spectrogram creates a visual representation of spoken language and pronunciation. The bigly evidence? That the spectrogram shows Trump adding a second "G" sound at the end of the phrase.
That means it's "big league," folks.
Other linguists quickly offered their opinion, agreeing with Lin. New York University linguist Tara McAllister Byun noted the velar pinch at the end, saying it's hard evidence that Trump is saying "big league" and not "bigly."