Chapter published in:Exploring Intensification: Synchronic, diachronic and cross-linguistic perspectives
Edited by Maria Napoli and Miriam Ravetto
[Studies in Language Companion Series 189] 2017
► pp. 33–53
Intensification and focusing
The case of pure(ly) and mere(ly)
Intensification or degree modification by means of adverbs and adjectives has been the object of linguistic study for many years, yet there is still a need for clear delineation of this functional category. This study focuses on the differences and similarities between the functional domains of intensification and focusing. The latter function has mainly been described for adverbs, with little attention to its adjectival realizations and to its relation to intensification. By means of corpus studies of pure, purely, mere and merely, it is shown that intensification and focusing are similar to some extent, both engaging in interpersonal modification (McGregor 1997), yet also distinct with intensification being semantically scalar, attitudinal and inherently subjective and focusing being only potentially pragmatically scalar, rhetorical and textually intersubjective.
Keywords: intensification, focusing, scalarity, (inter)subjectivity, interpersonal modification, adjectives, adverbs
Published online: 30 September 2017
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Bardenstein, Ruti & Mira Ariel
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