1887
Volume 22, Issue 3
  • ISSN 1384-6655
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9811
USD
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes

Abstract

Abstract

This study investigates how age, gender, social class and dialect influence how frequently speakers of British English use intensifiers (e.g. ) in private conversations and whether this has changed over the last two decades. With data drawn from over 600 speakers and 4M words included in the Spoken British National Corpus (1994 and 2014 Sample), it is the most comprehensive study of intensifier usage to date, taking into account 111 intensifier variants. Results show that, in most age groups and social classes, men use intensifiers less frequently than women, and gender differences have diminished to a very limited extent, notably for the middle class. Moreover, intensification rate has increased across the board over time. This could be due to a shift towards a stereotypically more feminine communicative style as the perception of gender roles has changed, a process by which the middle class might have been particularly affected.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1075/ijcl.22.3.03fuc
2017-11-23
2019-08-19
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

References

  1. Akaike, H.
    (1974) A new look at the statistical model identification. IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, 19(6), 716–723. doi:  10.1109/TAC.1974.1100705
    https://doi.org/10.1109/TAC.1974.1100705 [Google Scholar]
  2. Andersen, G.
    (2001) Pragmatic Markers and Sociolinguistic Variation: A Relevance-theoretic Approach to the Language of Adolescents. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins. doi:  10.1075/pbns.84
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.84 [Google Scholar]
  3. Argamon, S., Koppel, M., Fine, J., & Shimoni, A. R.
    (2003) Gender, genre, and writing style in formal written texts. Text, 23(3), 321–346. doi:  10.1515/text.2003.014
    https://doi.org/10.1515/text.2003.014 [Google Scholar]
  4. Argamon, S., Koppel, M., Pennebaker, J. W., & Schler, J.
    (2007) Mining the blogosphere: Age, gender and the varieties of self-expression. First Monday, 12(9). doi:  10.5210/fm.v12i9.2003
    https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v12i9.2003 [Google Scholar]
  5. Baker, P.
    (2008) Sexed Texts: Language, Gender and Sexuality. London: Equinox.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. (2014) Using Corpora to Analyze Gender. London/New York: Bloomsbury.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Barbieri, F.
    (2007) Older men and younger women: A corpus-based study of quotative use in American English. English World-Wide, 28(1), 23–45. doi:  10.1075/eww.28.1.03bar
    https://doi.org/10.1075/eww.28.1.03bar [Google Scholar]
  8. (2008) Patterns of age-based linguistic variation in American English. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 12(1), 58–88. doi:  10.1111/j.1467‑9841.2008.00353.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9841.2008.00353.x [Google Scholar]
  9. Bates, D., Maechler, M., & Bolker, B.
    (2013) lme4: Linear Mixed-Effects Models Using S4 Classes, R package version 0.999999-2. Retrieved fromhttps://cran.r-project.org/package=lme4
  10. Biber, D.
    (1991) Variation across Speech and Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Biber, D., Johansson, S., Leech, G., Conrad, S., & Finegan, E.
    (1999) Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English. London: Longman.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Bradac, J. J., Mulac, A., & Thompson, S. A.
    (1995) Men’s and women’s use of intensifiers and hedges in problem-solving interaction: Molar and molecular analyses. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 28(2), 93–116. doi:  10.1207/s15327973rlsi2802_1
    https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327973rlsi2802_1 [Google Scholar]
  13. Brezina, V., & Meyerhoff, M.
    (2014) Significant or random. A critical review of sociolinguistic generalisations based on large corpora. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 19(1), 1–28. doi:  10.1075/ijcl.19.1.01bre
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.19.1.01bre [Google Scholar]
  14. Cameron, D.
    (2000) Styling the worker: Gender and the commodification of language in the globalized service economy. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 4(3), 323–347. doi:  10.1111/1467‑9481.00119
    https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9481.00119 [Google Scholar]
  15. (2005) Language, gender, and sexuality: Current issues and new directions. Applied Linguistics, 26(4), 482–502. doi:  10.1093/applin/ami027
    https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/ami027 [Google Scholar]
  16. (2006) Theorising the female voice in public contexts. InJ. Baxter (Ed.), Speaking Out. The Female Voice in Public Contexts (pp.3–20). Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. (2007) Unanswered questions and unquestioned assumptions in the study of language and gender: Female verbal superiority. Gender & Language, 1(1), 15–25. doi:  10.1558/genl.2007.1.1.15
    https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.2007.1.1.15 [Google Scholar]
  18. (2009) Theoretical issues for the study of gender and spoken interaction. InP. Pichler & E. Eppler (Eds.), Gender and Spoken Interaction (pp.1–17). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. doi:  10.1057/9780230280748_1
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230280748_1 [Google Scholar]
  19. (2014) Gender and language ideologies. InS. Ehrlich, M. Meyerhoff & J. Holmes (Eds.), The Handbook of Language, Gender, and Sexuality (pp.281–296). Chichester: Blackwell. doi:  10.1002/9781118584248.ch14
    https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118584248.ch14 [Google Scholar]
  20. Cheshire, J.
    (2002) Sex and gender in variationist research. InJ. K. Chambers, P. Trudgill & N. Schilling-Estes (Eds.), The Handbook of Language Variation and Change (pp.423–443). Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Christie, C.
    (2002) Politeness and the linguistic construction of gender in parliament: An analysis of transgressions and apology behaviour. Working Papers on the Web, 3. Retrieved fromextra.shu.ac.uk/wpw/politeness/christie.htm (last accessedJune 2017).
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Eckert, P., & McConnell-Ginet, S.
    (1999) New generalizations and explanations in language and gender research. Language in Society, 28(2), 185–201. doi:  10.1017/S0047404599002031
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047404599002031 [Google Scholar]
  23. Fahs, B.
    (2011) Dreaded “Otherness”. Heteronormative patrolling in women’s body hair rebellions. Gender & Society, 25(4), 451–472. doi:  10.1177/0891243211414877
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0891243211414877 [Google Scholar]
  24. Ferrara, K., & Bell, B.
    (1995) Sociolinguistic variation and discourse function of constructed dialogue introducers: The case of be + like. American Speech, 70(3), 265–290. doi:  10.2307/455900
    https://doi.org/10.2307/455900 [Google Scholar]
  25. Fuchs, R., & Gut, U.
    (2016) Register variation in intensifier usage across Asian Englishes. InH. Pichler (Ed.), Discourse-Pragmatic Variation and Change: Insights from English: New Methods and Insights (pp.185–210). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:  10.1017/CBO9781107295476.009
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107295476.009 [Google Scholar]
  26. Gong, W.
    (2009) Linguistic variation and identity representation in personal blogs: A corpus-linguistic approach (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). National University of Singapore, Singapore.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Gray, J.
    (1992) Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. New York, NY: Harper Collins.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Griffin, P.
    (2007) Sexing the economy in a neo-liberal world order: Neo-liberal discourse and the (re)production of heteronormative heterosexuality. The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 9(2), 220–238. doi:  10.1111/j.1467‑856x.2007.00280.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-856x.2007.00280.x [Google Scholar]
  29. Günther, U.
    (2003) What’s in a Laugh? Humour, Jokes and Laughter in the Conversational Subcorpus of the BNC (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany. Retrieved fromwww.freidok.uni-freiburg.de/volltexte/735/ (last accessedJune 2017).
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Hancock, A. B., Stutts, H. W., & Bass, A.
    (2015) Perceptions of gender and femininity based on language: Implications for transgender communication therapy. Language and Speech, 58(3), 315–333. doi:  10.1177/0023830914549084
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0023830914549084 [Google Scholar]
  31. Hansen, B.
    (forthcoming). The ICE metadata: A window to the past? An exploratory study of Hong Kong English. World Englishes.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Hardie, A.
    (2012) CQPweb: -Combining power, flexibility and usability in a corpus analysis tool. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 17(3), 380–409. doi:  10.1075/ijcl.17.3.04har
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.17.3.04har [Google Scholar]
  33. Holmes, J.
    (1995) Women, Men and Politeness. London/New York: Longman.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. (1998) Response to Koenraad Kuiper. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 2(1), 104–106. doi:  10.1111/1467‑9481.00033
    https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9481.00033 [Google Scholar]
  35. (2000) Women at work: Analysing women’s talk at New Zealand Workplaces. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 22(2), 1–17. doi:  10.1075/aral.22.2.01hol
    https://doi.org/10.1075/aral.22.2.01hol [Google Scholar]
  36. (2005) Power and discourse at work: Is gender relevant?InM. Lazar (Ed.), Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis (pp.31–60). Basingstoke: Macmillan. doi:  10.1057/9780230599901_2
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230599901_2 [Google Scholar]
  37. Holmes, J., Vine, B., & Johnson, G.
    (1998) The Wellington Corpus of Spoken New Zealand English: A Users’ Guide. Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Holmes-Elliott, S.
    (2016) Ladies first? Adolescent peaks in a male-led change. U. Penn Working Papers in Linguistics, 22(2), 80–90.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Hopper, P. J., & Traugott, E.
    (2003) Grammaticalization (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:  10.1017/CBO9781139165525
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139165525 [Google Scholar]
  40. Hothorn, T., Bretz, F., & Westfall, P.
    (2008) Simultaneous inference in general parametric model. Biometrical Journal, 50(3), 346–363. doi:  10.1002/bimj.200810425
    https://doi.org/10.1002/bimj.200810425 [Google Scholar]
  41. Hovy, D., Johannsen, A., & Søgaard, A.
    (2015, May). User review sites as a resource for large-scale sociolinguistic studies. InProceedings of the 24th International Conference on World Wide Web (pp.452–461). ACM. doi:  10.1145/2736277.2741141
    https://doi.org/10.1145/2736277.2741141 [Google Scholar]
  42. Hussey, K. A., & Katz, A. N.
    (2006) Metaphor production in online conversation: Gender and friendship status. Discourse Processes, 42(1), 75–98. doi:  10.1207/s15326950dp4201_3
    https://doi.org/10.1207/s15326950dp4201_3 [Google Scholar]
  43. Ito, R. & Tagliamonte, S.
    (2003) Well weird, right dodgy, very strange, really cool: Layering and recycling in English intensifiers. Language in Society, 32(2), 257–279. doi:  10.1017/S0047404503322055
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047404503322055 [Google Scholar]
  44. Janssen, A., & Murachver, T.
    (2004) The relationship between gender and topic in gender-preferential language use. Written Communication, 21(4), 344–367. doi:  10.1177/0741088304270028
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0741088304270028 [Google Scholar]
  45. Jespersen, O.
    (1922) Language: Its Nature, Development, and Origin. London: Allen and Unwin.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Korobov, N.
    (2005) Ironizing masculinity: How adolescent boys negotiate hetero-normative dilemmas in conversational interaction. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 13(2), 225–246. doi:  10.3149/jms.1302.225
    https://doi.org/10.3149/jms.1302.225 [Google Scholar]
  47. Labov, W.
    (1990) The intersection of sex and social class in the course of linguistic change. Language Variation and Change, 2(2), 205–254. doi:  10.1017/S0954394500000338
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954394500000338 [Google Scholar]
  48. (2001) Principles of Linguistic Change, Vol. 2: External Factors. Oxford: Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  49. Leech, G., Hundt, M., Mair, C., & Smith, N.
    (2009) Change in Contemporary English: A Grammatical Study. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:  10.1017/CBO9780511642210
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511642210 [Google Scholar]
  50. Love, R., Dembry, C., Hardie, A., Brezina, V., & McEnery, T.
    (this issue). The Spoken BNC2014: Designing and building a spoken corpus of everyday conversations. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 22(3). doi:  10.1075/ijcl.22.3.02lov
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.22.3.02lov [Google Scholar]
  51. McEnery, A., & Xiao, Z.
    (2004) Swearing in modern British English: The case of fuck in the BNC. Language and Literature, 13(3), 235–268. doi:  10.1177/0963947004044873
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0963947004044873 [Google Scholar]
  52. Maltz, D. J., & Borker, R. A.
    (1982) A cultural approach to male-female miscommunication. InJ. Gumpertz (Ed.), Language and Social Identity (pp.196–216). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  53. Mehl, M. R.
    (2004) The sounds of social life: Exploring students’ daily social environments and natural conversations (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX.
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Mills, S.
    (2006) Gender and performance anxiety at academic conferences. InJ. Baxter (Ed.), Speaking Out (pp.61–80). Basingstoke: Macmillan. doi:  10.1057/9780230522435_4
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230522435_4 [Google Scholar]
  55. (2011) Communities of practice and politeness. InB. Davies, M. Haugh & A. Merrison (Eds.), Situated Politeness (pp.73–87). London: Continuum.
    [Google Scholar]
  56. Mulac, A., Bradac, J. J., & Gibbons, P.
    (2001) Empirical support for the gender‐as‐culture hypothesis. Human Communication Research, 27(1), 121–152. doi:  10.1093/hcr/27.1.121
    https://doi.org/10.1093/hcr/27.1.121 [Google Scholar]
  57. Murphy, B.
    (2010) Corpus and Sociolinguistics. Investigating Age and Gender in Female Talk. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. doi:  10.1075/scl.38
    https://doi.org/10.1075/scl.38 [Google Scholar]
  58. Nemati, A., & Bayer, J. M.
    (2007) Gender differences in the use of linguistic forms in the speech of men and women: A comparative study of Persian and English. Language in India, 7(9), 1–16.
    [Google Scholar]
  59. Newman, M. L., Groom, C. J., Handelman, L. D., & Pennebaker, J. W.
    (2008) Gender differences in language use: An analysis of 14,000 text samples. Discourse Processes, 45(3), 211–236. doi:  10.1080/01638530802073712
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01638530802073712 [Google Scholar]
  60. Nowson, S.
    (2006) The language of Weblogs: A study of genre and individual differences (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh.
    [Google Scholar]
  61. Núñez Pertejo, P., & Palacios Martínez, I.
    (2014) That’s absolutely crap, totally rubbish: The use of the intensifiers absolutely and totally in the spoken language of British adults and teenagers. Functions of Language, 21(2): 210–237. doi:  10.1075/fol.21.2.03pal
    https://doi.org/10.1075/fol.21.2.03pal [Google Scholar]
  62. Palacios Martínez, I., & Núñez Pertejo, P.
    (2012) He’s absolutely massive. It’s a super day. Madonna, she is a wicked singer. Youth language and intensification: A corpus-based study. Text & Talk, 32(6), 773–796. doi:  10.1515/text‑2012‑0036
    https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2012-0036 [Google Scholar]
  63. Pugh, T., & Wallace, D. L.
    (2006) Heteronormative heroism and queering the school story in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter Series. Children's Literature Association Quarterly, 31(3), 260–281. doi:  10.1353/chq.2006.0053
    https://doi.org/10.1353/chq.2006.0053 [Google Scholar]
  64. Quirk, R., Greenbaum, S., Leech, G., & Svartvik, J.
    (1985) A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. London/New York: Longman.
    [Google Scholar]
  65. R Development Core Team
    R Development Core Team (2008) A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing, R Foundation for Statistical Computing [Computer software]. Vienna, Austria. Retrieved fromwww.Rproject.org (last accessedJune 2017).
    [Google Scholar]
  66. Rayson, P., Geoffrey, L., & Hodges, M.
    (1997) Social differentiation in the use of English vocabulary: Some analyses of the conversational component of the British National Corpus. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 2(1). 133–152. doi:  10.1075/ijcl.2.1.07ray
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.2.1.07ray [Google Scholar]
  67. Röndahl, G., Bruhner, E., & Lindhe, J.
    (2009) Heteronormative communication with lesbian families in antenatal care, childbirth and postnatal care. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 65(11), 2337–2344. doi:  10.1111/j.1365‑2648.2009.05092.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2648.2009.05092.x [Google Scholar]
  68. Rühlemann, C.
    (2007) Conversation in Context: A Corpus-driven Approach. London: Continuum.
    [Google Scholar]
  69. (2010) Conversational grammar-feminine grammar? A sociopragmatic corpus study. Journal of English Linguistics, 38(1), 56–87. doi:  10.1177/0075424209347175
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0075424209347175 [Google Scholar]
  70. Schler, J., Koppel, M., Argamon, S., & Pennebaker, J. W.
    (2006) Effects of age and gender on blogging. AAAI spring symposium: Computational approaches to analyzing weblogs, 6, 199–205.
    [Google Scholar]
  71. Schmid, H. -J.
    (2003) Do women and men really live in different cultures? Evidence from the BNC. InWilson, A., P. Rayson & T. McEnery (Eds.), Corpora by the Lune: a Festschrift for Geoffrey Leech (pp.185–221). Frankfurt: Peter Lang.
    [Google Scholar]
  72. Schweinberger, M.
    (2014) The Discourse Marker LIKE: A Corpus-based Analysis of Selected Varieties of English (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany.
    [Google Scholar]
  73. Stenström, A.B.
    (1999) He was really gormless – She’s bloody crap: Girls, boys and intensifiers. InH. Hasselgard & S. Oksefjell (Eds.), Out of Corpora (pp.69–78). Amsterdam: Rodopi.
    [Google Scholar]
  74. Stenström, A. B., Andersen, G. & Hasund, I.
    (2002) Trends in Teenage Talk. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. doi:  10.1075/scl.8
    https://doi.org/10.1075/scl.8 [Google Scholar]
  75. Stoffel, C.
    (1901) Intensives and Down-Toners: A Study in English Adverbs. Heidelberg: Carl Winter.
    [Google Scholar]
  76. Tagliamonte, S.
    (2008) So different and pretty cool! Recycling intensifiers in Toronto, Canada. English Language and Linguistics, 12(2), 361–394. doi:  10.1017/S1360674308002669
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1360674308002669 [Google Scholar]
  77. Tagliamonte, S., & D’Arcy, A.
    (2009) Peaks beyond phonology: Adolescence, incrementation and language change. Language, 85(1), 58–108. doi:  10.1353/lan.0.0084
    https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.0.0084 [Google Scholar]
  78. Tagliamonte, S., & Roberts, C.
    (2005) So weird; so cool; so innovative: The use of intensifiers in the television series Friends. American Speech, 80(3), 280–300. doi:  10.1215/00031283‑80‑3‑280
    https://doi.org/10.1215/00031283-80-3-280 [Google Scholar]
  79. Wickham, H.
    (2009) ggplot2: Elegant Graphics for Data Analysis. New York: Springer. doi:  10.1007/978‑0‑387‑98141‑3
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-98141-3 [Google Scholar]
  80. Wodak, R.
    (2015) Gender and language: Cultural concerns. InJ. Wright (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (2nd ed.) (pp.698–703). Oxford: Elsevier. doi:  10.1016/B978‑0‑08‑097086‑8.64018‑7
    https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-097086-8.64018-7 [Google Scholar]
  81. Xiao, R., & Tao, H.
    (2007) A corpus-based sociolinguistic study of amplifiers in British English. Sociolinguistic Studies, 1(2), 241–273. doi:  10.1558/sols.v1i2.241
    https://doi.org/10.1558/sols.v1i2.241 [Google Scholar]
  82. Yaguchi, M., Iyeiri, Y., & Baba, Y.
    (2010) Speech style and gender distinctions in the use of very and real/really: An analysis of the Corpus of Spoken Professional American English. Journal of Pragmatics, 42(3), 585–597. doi:  10.1016/j.pragma.2009.08.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2009.08.002 [Google Scholar]
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1075/ijcl.22.3.03fuc
Loading
/content/journals/10.1075/ijcl.22.3.03fuc
Loading

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): age , diachronic change , gender , intensifiers and social class
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error