Prefixes of Degree in English: A Cognitive-Corpus Analysis

DOI: 10.4236/ojml.2011.12003   PDF   HTML     5,731 Downloads   14,288 Views   Citations


This paper provides a new analysis of prefixes of degree in English which include hyper-, mega-, super-, sur- and ultra-. In carrying out the analysis, it adopts two approaches. Theoretically, it adopts Cognitive Semantics (CS) and tries to substantiate some of its tenets with reference to prefixation. One tenet is that linguistic items are meaningful. On this basis, the paper argues that prefixes of degree have a wide range of meanings that gather around a central sense. Another tenet is that the meaning of a linguistic item is best understood in terms of the domain to which it belongs. On this basis, the paper argues that prefixes of degree form a set in which they highlight not only similarities but also differences. A further tenet is that the use of an expression is governed by the particular construal imposed on its content. On this basis, the paper argues that a derived word results from the particular construal the speaker chooses to describe a situation. Empirically, the paper adopts Corpus Linguistics, which helps identify the distinctive collocates associated with the members of a pair and, consequently, reveal the subtle differences in meaning between them. The aim is to show that the members of a pair are not synonymous, as has hitherto been claimed by previous paradigms or current dictionaries, but distinctive in use.

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Hamawand, Z. (2011). Prefixes of Degree in English: A Cognitive-Corpus Analysis. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 1, 13-23. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2011.12003.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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