Chapter 3Do intensifiers lose their expressive force over time?
A corpus linguistic study
This article presents a corpus study of German intensifiers, which was conducted with the goal to test the
hypothesis of Biedermann (1969) that intensifiers lose their expressivity over
time. Following the author, frequently used intensifiers wear out, which results in a loss of expressivity. The goal of the
study is to carry out evaluations in the form of synchronic and diachronic frequency distributions. The results show that the
use of intensifiers has increased. According to the data, most of them are in an ascending phase and thus, yield no support
for the hypothesized loss of expressivity. Further investigations are necessary to validate the above-mentioned hypothesis.
Nevertheless, this study provides the first empirical evidence of an increasing use of German intensifiers.
- 1.Introduction and theoretical background
- 2.Corpus study
- 3.1General results
- 3.2Descriptive intensifier
- 3.3Expressive intensifiers
- 3.4Hierarchical Cluster Analysis
- 4.1Descriptive intensifier (n = 1)
- 4.2Expressive intensifiers (n = 16)
- 4.2.1Cluster I
- 4.2.2Cluster II
- 4.2.3Summary and evaluation of the results