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. 327–352
Ways to intensify
Types of intensified meanings in Italian and German
Intensification has traditionally been regarded as a category that is closely related to the concept of degree, i.e., to gradability (since Bolinger 1972). However, as has been shown by, among others, Paradis (2001, 2008), intensifiers are used not only with gradable bases (as adjectives typically are), but also with non-gradable bases, including nouns and verbs. The nature of the modified base – gradable vs. non-gradable, but also bounded vs. unbounded – may influence the value of the intensifiers, which as a result do not represent a homogenous category. Italian and German confirm this state of affairs in their use of some evaluative prefixes, mainly of Greek and Latin origin, with different kinds of base and different semantic and pragmatic functions. The aim of this paper is to analyze the behaviour of the most representative of these prefixes using a corpus-based approach. We will try to illustrate how the values assumed by Italian and German prefixes cannot be accounted for only in terms of degree modification, as related to the quantity and/or quality dimensions of intensification, since these forms show an increase in their subjectivity and expressive strength, which leads them to lose their semantic specificity and to assume a more general intensifying (and emphasizing) function.
Keywords: intensification, emphasis, prefixes, subjectivity, subjectification
Published online: 30 September 2017
de Boer, Minne G.
Cuzzolin, Pierluigi & Lehmann, Christian
Dressler, Wolfgang U. & Merlini Barbaresi, Lavinia
Ghesquière, Lobke & Davidse, Kristin
Grandi, Nicola. & Montermini, Fabio
Kennedy, Chris & McNally, Louise
Napoli, Donna Jo & Reynolds, Bill
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Pander Maat, Henk
Sassoon, Galit W.
Schmidt, Günter Dietrich
Sobrero, Alberto A.
Cited by 1 other publications
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