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Abstract

Powerful language: A literature review on language intensity in four research fields

In recent decades, language intensity, intensification and intensifiers are studied in different research fields: in descriptive linguistics, evaluative literature, social psychology and text analytical discourse studies. However, questions raise about the interpretations researchers in those fields have regarding language intensity: their concepts are diverse. First, it is questionable what kind of utterances are strengthened through language intensity: evaluative or descriptive utterances. Secondly, there are differences between the studies whether language intensity only contain strengthening or also weakening elements. Thirdly, the amount in which the meaning of an utterance changes through language intensity is debatable. Lastly, language intensity studies differ in the linguistic elements that are considered as intensifying elements. In this literature review, the research traditions are compared: how is language intensification studied in various fields, where do they contribute and where are the bottlenecks? This article concludes with a proposal for a unified approach to language intensity, intensification and intensifiers as a stylistic phenomenon, in order to carry out more systematic research on this topic in the future.
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Keywords: language intensity, persuasion, stylistics, discourse studies, experimental studies

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Dr. Christine Liebrecht, universitair docent Communicatie- en Informatiewetenschappen, Tilburg University, Tilburg center for Cognition and Communication, Postbus 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg., Email: [email protected] 2: Dr. Lettica Hustinx, universitair docent Taalbeheersing, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, Centre for Language Studies, Postbus 9103, 6500 HD Nijmegen., Email: [email protected] 3: Prof. dr. Margot van Mulken, hoogleraar Internationale Bedrijfscommunicatie, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, Centre for Language Studies, Postbus 9103, 6500 HD Nijmegen., Email: [email protected] 4: Prof. dr. Peter Jan Schellens, emeritus hoogleraar Taalbeheersing van het Nederlands, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, Postbus 9103, 6500 HD Nijmegen., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 March 2016

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  • Het Tijdschrift voor Taalbeheersing verschijnt drie keer per jaar en biedt een platform aan taalbeheersers om de resultaten van wetenschappelijk onderzoek naar taal- en tekstgebruik te publiceren. Het onderzoek waarover gerapporteerd wordt, richt zich zowel op schriftelijke als mondelinge taalvaardigheid, op begrijpelijk en/of effectief taalgebruik, op vormen en functies van verschillende tekstgenres en op taalkundige kenmerken van communicatie. Het tijdschrift biedt ruimte aan onderzoek vanuit verschillende disciplines zoals taalwetenschap, tekstwetenschap, conversatie-analyse, communicatiewetenschap, psychologie, onderwijskunde, argumentatietheorie en retorica.

    The Dutch-language journal Tijdschrift voor Taalbeheersing is a platform for academics to publish research results about the use of language and texts. The research focuses on written and oral language skills, on understandable and/or effective language usage, on characteristics of different text genres and on characteristics of texts in communication.
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