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. 147–169
Nulla sum, nulla sum: Tota, tota occidi
Repetition as a (rare) strategy of intensification in Latin
Repetition of a linguistic form is a widespread strategy in the world’s languages to express a number of related functions, such as pluralization, distribution, collectivity and, crucially, intensification. This last function is the core meaning expressed by word repetition in Latin, a language where this copying process does not constitute a morphological rule, but rather an occasional mean to express intensification among the typical grammaticalized strategies (prefixes, the superlative suffix ‑issimus, and adverbs). This paper firstly provides a survey of forms and functions of repetition in Latin and suggests a distinction between degree and illocutionary intensification depending on their specific meaning, their scope, and the status of the source involved. Secondly, it contains a corpus-based study of word repetition based on the Plautine comedies, providing evidence about its uses and productivity effects across different lexical categories. The paper closes with a reassessment of the status of repetition as a pragmatic strategy of intensification in Latin, with a focus on Plautus, also offering some diachronic remarks.
Keywords: repetition, degree intensification, illocutionary intensification, pragmatics, Latin
Published online: 30 September 2017
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