Author: Mi, Wai Pong James
Title: Hyperbole in newspaper
Degree: M.A.
Year: 2017
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Corpora (Linguistics)
Exaggeration (Philosophy)
Department: Department of English
Pages: 61 pages
Language: English
Abstract: As a commonly used non-literal trope in the English language, hyperbole is understudied over the years. In addition, the scrutiny of hyperbole was mainly focused on literature or verbal conversation in the previous research. To have a thorough understanding on the application of hyperbole in everyday written discourse, a quantitative-based analysis has been carried out by examining 400 news articles retrieved from four major English speaking countries and 749 hyperbolic instances have been discovered out of the nearly-300,000-word corpus. Extreme Case formulations (ECFs), a kind of hyperbolic form which exaggerates to the end points in scales, have two-third of the valid tokens in the research. The comparison among the four countries reveals significant difference in the presence of hyperbole. In the latter part of the research, the correlation between hyperboles and the violation of the maxims of Grice's Cooperative Principle is analyzed and it is found that ECFs tend to violate the maxims of Quality while non-extreme hyperbole is moderately associated with the violation of the maxims of Quantity. As ECFs are the major hyperbolic form in the present study, the association implies that truthfulness is occasionally sacrificed for the pursue of other communication goals. The findings also provide evidence about the characteristics of the usage of hyperbole. Speakers tend to use hedges, expressions of personal feelings or experience, negativity as frictional force and promise along with hyperbole to avoid the violation of the maxims of Cooperative Principle and keep the truthfulness of the utterances.
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