Article published in:Grammar, usage and discourse: Functional studies offered to Kristin Davidse
Edited by Lieven Vandelanotte, Wout Van Praet and Lieselotte Brems
[English Text Construction 10:2] 2017
► pp. 249–273
Co-occurrence and iteration of intensifiers in Early English
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.
Keywords: accretion, co-occurrence, grammaticalization, intensifiers, iteration
Published online: 19 October 2017
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