Proceedings of the 27th International Conference on Lexis and Grammar pages:59-77
Colloque International sur le Lexique et la Grammaire edition:27 location:L’Aquila date:10-13 September 2008
This article is concerned with the ‘emphasizing’ uses of the adjectives of purity pure, sheer and mere. On the basis of qualitative and quantitative corpus study, it is argued that within these emphasizing uses a distinction has to be made between intensifying and contextual emphasizers. The generally recognized intensifying emphasizers heighten or lower the semantic specifications of the nominal descriptions they are used with. The neglected subtype of contextual emphasizers, by contrast, does not make the notions referred to any bigger or smaller, but conveys a contextual form of emphasis by including these notions into contrastive-specificational, heightening or diminishing relations with other elements in the context.