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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."

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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: So Different and Pretty Cool! Recycling intensifiers in Toronto, Canada
Author: Sali A Tagliamonte
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Toronto
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: This article presents a synchronic quantitative study of the intensifier system in Toronto, the largest urban centre in Canada. The data comprise nearly 10,000 adjectival heads, as in I was so hungry and I was getting really nauseous (TOR/2m). The distribution of intensifiers in apparent time provides startling evidence of change. Very is quickly moving out of favour and really has expanded dramatically. Moreover, there is evidence to suggest that other intensifiers are on the rise – so and pretty. Testing a series of contextual factors known to operate in the development of intensifiers (e.g. adjective function and type) as well as their intersection with social factors (e.g. age and sex) reveals evidence of ongoing delexicalization, but not as part of a continual longitudinal process. Instead, the profile of change reveals recycling, suggesting that the mechanisms of intensifier renewal may be more complex than previously thought.


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

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