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date: 17 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Taboo terms are used for far more than verbal abuse and linguistic mayhem. They may serve to strengthen questions and negative statements, they express high degree, and add negative connotations to otherwise neutral words. They may appear as negative polarity items, but also as positive polarity items. The variety of ways in which they may be employed is quite remarkable, and deserves to be studied from a cross-linguistic perspective. This chapter presents an overview of the main uses of taboo terms and the syntactic constructions they give rise to, and illustrates with material taken largely from English and Dutch, but in addition German, Estonian, Polish, and modern Hebrew.

Keywords: polarity, pejoratives, degree, resultatives, amalgams, emphatic questions, exclamations

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