The diachronic development of the intensifier <i>bloody</i>: A case study in historical pragmatics
This paper traces the history of <i>bloody </i>from a holistic perspective, that is, by considering <i>bloody </i>in relation to other items within the system of intensification. Using corpus evidence, the paper rejects current etymological proposals and suggests that the Reformation was the possible socio-historical context where<i>bloody </i>became a taboo word and an intensifier. It goes on to explain how the adjective <i>bloody </i>became an intensifying adverb in collocation with ‘drunk’ through the cognitive-pragmatic processes of selective binding and analogy. This grammaticalisation cline sets <i>bloody </i>apart from a number of other intensifiers such as <i>very, extremely, utterly, absolutely</i>, which, unlike <i>bloody</i>, were originally manner adverbs and have severely reduced their syntagmatic variability. It also sets it apart from intensifiers such as <i>good, nice, dirty, jolly, pretty </i>and <i>lovely, </i>which, unlike<i>bloody</i>, always retain their descriptive meaning when used as adjectives.