Zeki Hamawand | Department of English, University of Kirkuk (Iraq)
This paper is about gradation of meaning in English, the situation in which the degree of the quality of a word increases or decreases, caused conceptually by communicative demands and expressed lexically by other words called degree adverbs. The choice of a degree adverb reflects the speaker's viewpoint and influences the listener’s reception of the message. With reference to this phenomenon, the paper explores three fundamental tenets of Cognitive Grammar. The first is that a linguistic item forms a category of interrelated senses. On this basis, degree adverbs are argued to acquire new senses relative to context of use. The second is that the meaning of a linguistic item is best understood in terms of the domain to which it belongs. On this basis, degree adverbs are argued to form sets in which they highlight different facets. The third is that the use of a linguistic item is motivated by the particular construal imposed on a scene. On this basis, the use of a degree adverb is argued to result from the particular construal the speaker chooses to describe a situation. Degree adverbs are found to be linguistic devices used to fine-tune a stance. A change in a stance requires a change in a degree adverb.
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Cited by 1 other publications
2022. Intensification for discursive evaluation: a corpus-pragmatic view. Text & Talk 42:3 ► pp. 391 ff.
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