Comment le sens peut-il être complexe ? L’exemple des comparaisons d’intensité

Abstract : Gleaning from semantic facts which appear complex, in the traditional sense of the word, and from the already established linguistic notion of complexity, an overarching definition of semantic complexity is put forth. Certain facts’ complexity may explain the differences between idiolects, and therein lies the notion of difficulty. One form of semantic complexity, intensifying comparisons, is then analyzed. Peter is as white as a ghost is a complex way to express intensity (= “Peter is very pale”). But certain comparisons appear even more complex: The driven snow is not more pure than my love or My mother being Arab and my father Jewish, you can imagine the fireworks in Tunis when they started dating… Compared to them, Romeo and Juliet were plain vanilla. The parameters that lengthen the calculation of the meaning of these comparisons and which allow us to hierarchize them by complexity are uncovered.
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Clara Romero. Comment le sens peut-il être complexe ? L’exemple des comparaisons d’intensité. Nouvelles perspectives en sciences sociales, Prise de parole (Ontario, Canada), 2013, Linguistique et complexité, 9 (1), pp.171-198. ⟨halshs-01160024⟩

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