Publication details [#8238]

Nemesi, Attila L. 2004. What discourse goals can be accomplished by the use of hyperbole? Text & Talk 51 (3-4) : 351–378. 28 pp.
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Although hyperbole is a ubiquitous means of discourse, its role in interpersonal rhetoric has been examined to a much lesser extent than that of metaphor or irony. This paper investigates what discourse goals can be fulfilled by hyperbole, using conversations from some classic Hungarian films as the data. The reason why film conversations were selected is that the knowledge of the story and the transparency of the characters' intentions make the understanding of communicative motives easy. Besides, the situations in feature films are very similar to spontaneous everyday interactions. Analyses demonstrate that hyperbolic utterances convey the speakers' attitudes, either real or only presented, towards the topic of conversation. According to the social psychological laws of public behaviour, the expression of emotional relation or attitude is mostly subordinated to the speaker's attempt to construct an intended impression on conversational partners. Thus, the use of hyperbole has two main goals: to express emotions and to reach a desired self-presentation. (Attila L. Nemesi)