Intensifiers in MLE: New trends and developments

Paloma Núñez-Pertejo, Ignacio Palacios-Martínez


By the late 20th century, a multiethnolect generally known as Multicultural London English (MLE) emerged in this city, reflecting many different countries, races and cultures. This paper is corpus-based and is concerned with the system of intensifiers in MLE, examining data primarily from the London English Corpus (LEC). In the analysis we draw contrasts between teen and adult language; other variables, such as speakers’ gender and ethnicity are also considered. Our findings broadly confirm partially previous studies, showing that so and really are the most common intensifiers among London teenagers, in contrast to very, which is the most frequent in adults. Secondly, we identify in teen talk two new intensifiers which have not been described as such in the literature: bare (it's bare addictive) and proper (they were proper strict in school); these have not been recorded in the language of adults. The paper concludes by discussing the possible reasons for the emergence of these two new intensifiers.


intensifiers; Multicultural London English; teen talk; intensification

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