The interlocking paths of development to emphasizer adjective pure
This study deals with the emphasizing use of adjective pure, as in pure heaven, pure unbridled hell, which heightens the semantic specifications of the following nominal description. On the basis of close analysis of synchronic and diachronic data, it is argued that the peculiarities of Present-day emphasizer pure are the result of two distinct but mutually reinforcing paths of development. Emphasizing pure first appeared as a subjective heightener of emotion nouns in the syntactic environment pure + noun, in which it subsequently spread to other collocational sets. The contextual emphasizing use, e.g. in pure spirit, seems to have been a facilitating factor in this process. In the pattern pure and adjective + noun, the emphasizing use cropped up only at the end of Late Modern English as the result of leftward movement and subjectification (Adamson 2000), enabled by contextual modulation of pure by the other adjective. These two paths were linked by shared collocational sets such as the emotion nouns.
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