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學術研究

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TitleA Corpus-ba<x>sed Study of Semantic Prosody Change: The Case of the Adverbial Intensifier
作者Ruihua Zhang
作者說明Tianjin University of Science and Technology
Abstract

The concept of semantic prosody is elaborated most notably by Sinclair (1987, 1996a, 1998, 2003), Louw (1993, 2000), Stubbs (1996, 2001), and Partington (1998, 2004). The description of semantic prosody has been greatly facilitated by corpus linguistics. However, previous research has concentrated primarily on its synchronic aspect. This paper deals with semantic prosody both synchronically and diachronically, focusing on certain  adverbial  intensifiers  (boosters).  It  argues  that  a  diachronic  perspective  is necessary to make better sense of how adverbial intensifiers have developed the semantic prosodies they have now.
In the study, four adverbial intensifiers are examined: terribly, awfully, horribly and dreadfully. Drawing on historical and modern corpus data, the study attempts to track the changes by comparing their frequencies in the company of pleasant and unpleasant words over different historical periods. Over the years they have diverged, to different extents, from the negative pole of semantic continuum and come to collocate with items with neutral or even positive connotations. Louw’s (1993) claim that meaning can “rub off on” another word through habitual collocation can explain this linguistic phenomenon.

Key words: semantic  prosody,  corpus  linguistics,  adverbial  intensifier,  diachronic perspective

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