He is a real weasel: Interpreting metaphors modified by stance marking adjectives and adverbs in English

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Description: Languages have various lexical and grammatical means of expressing attitudes, assessment, and emotions, known, among other terms, as stance markers. In English, adjectives and adverbs like 'real' and 'really' are common examples of stance markers which have an intensifying effect on the propositional content of a message (e.g. He is a real good person sometimes). Although this intensificational effect has been well explored in the use of literal language, little research has looked at its impact on figurative language. In the present study, we investigate how stance markers influence the interpretation of X is Y metaphors in English (e.g. He is a weasel). More specifically, we present two novel experiments, one including stance marking adjectives (e.g. He is a real weasel) and the other stance marking adverbs (e.g. He is really a weasel). Our goal is to understand how people interpret metaphoric statements both in the presence and absence of stance markers, also in cases of negated statements, where the relevant features of the metaphor source are weakened: (1) He is a weasel. [non-negated, non-intensified] (2) He is a real weasel. [non-negated, intensified] (3) He is not a weasel. [negated, non-intensified] (4) He is not a real weasel. [negated, intensified] (1) He is a weasel. [non-negated, non-intensified] (2) He is really a weasel. [non-negated, intensified] (3) He is not a weasel. [negated, non-intensified] (4) He is not really a weasel. [negated, intensified]

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