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Intensifier as Changed from the Impolite Word in Thai

Authors: Methawee Yuttapongtada


Intensifier is the linguistic term and device that is generally found in different languages in order to enhance and give additional quantity, quality or emotion to the words of each language. In fact, each language in the world has both of the similar and dissimilar intensifying device. More specially, the wide variety of intensifying device is used for Thai language and one of those is usage of the impolite word or the word that used to mean something negative as intensifier. The data collection in this study was done throughout the spoken language style by collecting from intensifiers regarded as impolite words because these words as employed in the other contexts will be held as the rude, swear words or the words with negative meaning. Then, backward study to the past was done in order to consider the historical change. Explanation of the original meaning and the contexts of words use from the past till the present time were done by use of both textual documents and dictionaries available in different periods. It was found that regarding the semantics and pragmatic aspects, subjectification also is the significant motivation that changed the impolite words to intensifiers. At last, it can explain pathway of the semantic change of these very words undoubtedly. Moreover, it is found that use tendency in the impolite word or the word that used to mean something negative will more be increased and this phenomenon is commonly found in many languages in the world and results of this research may support to the belief that human language in the world is universal and the same still reflected that human has the fundamental thought as the same to each other basically.

Keywords: Impolite word, intensifier, Thai, semantic change.

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