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. 371–389
A corpus-based analysis of Italian and German
In this article, we present a corpus-based analysis to illustrate the extent and the depth of the similarities in the use of Vagueness Expressions (VEs) in spoken Italian and German. Adopting a semiotic approach to the study of vagueness, we have investigated the frequency and the distribution of VEs, conveying informational, relational and discourse vagueness in conversations, non-free-dialogues and monologues. The two languages do not exhibit the same qualitative and quantitative distribution of VEs because (a) German has twice as many VEs as Italian and (b) in Italian VEs are fairly limited to spontaneous conversations, while German speakers use VEs in all kinds of texts conveying the three types of Vagueness. This suggests that in German VEs are part of the linguistic norm, and not only a choice on the part of the speaker.
Keywords: vagueness, systemic vagueness, intentional vagueness, Italian, German, corpus-based analysis, spoken language
Published online: 30 September 2017
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