Abstract

In an attempt to demonstrate that a corpus-based analysis can reveal aspects of the evaluative function that native speakers' intuitions most often fail to pick up, we analyze the pragmatic meaning that is associated with the use of the expressions "No wonder" and "I wouldn't be surprised (if/to)" in English and their Spanish equivalents: "No me extraña (que)" and "No me sorprendería (que) / No me extrañaría (que)." Previous studies have pointed out that a given word or expression can take on an association with the positive or the negative, and that this association can be exploited by the users of the language in question to express evaluative meaning covertly, a phenomenon which has been given the name of "semantic prosody" by some authors. Following these scholars, we examine the evaluative function of these five expressions in English and Spanish and argue that even when -- from the strictly semantic point of view -- they do not have an inherent negative connotation, they occur most frequently in the context of other words or phrases that are predominantly negative in their evaluative orientation.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-2833
Print ISSN
1948-2825
Pages
pp. 188-207
Launched on MUSE
2011-11-05
Open Access
No
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