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Lexico-functional categories 
and complex collocations

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Abstract

The lexico-functional category of intensifiers comprises core items expressing degree (very), and less grammaticalized, polyfunctional items which form a gradient from central to peripheral (bloody, desperately, thumpingly). Building on previous work on intensifiers, I queried the British National Corpus using the SketchEngine to provide evidence for considering occurrence in complex collocations as a parameter along which individual intensifiers vary with respect to each other: whereas occurrence in complex collocations extending to the right turns out to be a clue to the extent of grammaticalization, semantic prosody, and pattern of intensification of the intensifier (very vs. easily), ability to modify intensifiers in collocations extending to the left reflects the type and extent of expressivity and involvement of the intensifier.

References

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