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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: On the History of 'downright'
Author: Belén Méndez-Naya
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Text/Corpus Linguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Using data retrieved from a variety of diachronic corpora and the OED quotation database, this diachronic study sheds light on the origin and development of the degree function of a low-frequency intensifier, English downright, both as an adverb (it's downright rude) and as a reinforcing adjective (downright nonsense). The history of downright illustrates the interplay between lexicalization and grammaticalization in the evolution of a single item and provides a good example of the crucial role of context and inferencing in semantic change, and of two different trajectories in the development of intensifiers (adjunct > degree modifier, and descriptive adjective > affective adjective > intensifier).


This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 12, Issue 2.

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