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By Manfred Krifka, Austinlsaarbriicken

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Extra info for A Compositional Semantics for Multiple Focus

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The fact that huge was preferred over big or large thus makes a point, admittedly a smaller one than gigantic or colossal might have made, but nevertheless a somewhat hyperbolic point. , hospital, company, industry, explosion, reward, value – BNC examples). , a huge swollen nose (BNC CHR), huge terrible eyes (BNC FU). Taking together instances of unlikely or impossible sense modulation/adjustment, word field limitations and typical collocational patterns, I think it is possible to assume hyperbolic use of such vague scalar terms even if the effect may be more muted than in other cases.

A bomb hit us in the night, d’ya not know that? That’s what it looks like! , a ‘coherent segment … of human beliefs, actions, experiences or imaginings’ (Fillmore : , cf.  It is especially that part of the frame that deals with the effects of a bomb that is relevant or perspectivised here (cf. , a narrow semantic approach) would not elucidate anything here. We have expectations about what the site of a bomb explosion looks like, which involves rather drastic destruction, things being broken, debris lying all over the place, and everything looking chaotic and soiled.

In order to avoid overloading semantics with too specialised or too idiosyncratic/individualised knowledge, Taylor (: ) proposes to ‘regard the relevant background information for the characterisation of word meanings as a network of shared, conventionalised, to some extent perhaps idealised knowledge, embedded in a pattern of cultural beliefs and practices’ (cf. also Fillmore :  for the encyclopedic nature of frame semantics). , the original (potentially hyperbolic)  Strictly speaking, never is semantically already an extreme (and an absolute) and cannot be further maximised propositionally, but it can be overstated by substituting an absurd expression.

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A Compositional Semantics for Multiple Focus by Manfred Krifka, Austinlsaarbriicken


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