Volume 34, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0774-5141
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9676
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While the concept of extravagance, used to describe speakers’ use of imaginative and noticeable language, has seen a surge in popularity in recent constructionist work, researchers have not yet converged on a set of common criteria for identifying extravagant expressions. In this paper, we discuss a variety of existing definitions and combine them into five main characteristics of extravagant language. We then present the results of a small-scale pilot rating study in which speakers judged extravagant sentences and their non-extravagant paraphrases. Our findings suggest that different constructions vary in their degree of perceived extravagance, and that certain features (e.g. stylistic salience) apply to most extravagant examples while the role of other factors (e.g. the speaker’s emotional involvement) may be restricted to a subset of extravagant patterns. We conclude with some open questions concerning the further demarcation and operationalisation of the concept of extravagance.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): construction grammar; defining features; extravagance; rating study
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