This article focuses on an aspect of intensification which has not, so far, received due attention in the extensive literature on the topic: intensifier iteration (very very hot) and co-occurrence (very extremely hot), with a special focus on Old, Middle and Early Modern English as represented in the York-Toronto-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Old English Prose and the Penn Parsed Corpora of Historical English. The results show that in earlier English, intensifier iteration is less frequent than co-occurrence; that while the former is clearly associated with emphasis, the latter also intersects with grammaticalization and renewal; and that co-occurrence is particularly salient in periods of instability when the competition of intensifiers is at its height. Iteration and co-occurrence of intensifiers are analysed in this article as cases of the widespread cross-linguistic phenomenon of accretion.
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Cited by 7 other publications
2023. Tracking global English changes through local data: Intensifiers in German Learner English. International Journal of Bilingualism
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