Linguistic Transformation and Covid-19: A Corpus-Based Analysis of Intensifiers

Authors

  • Hassan Bukhtiar
  • Muhammad Saqib Zafar
  • Faryal Waseem Khan

Keywords:

COVID-19, Intensifiers, Corpus Linguistics, Language Variation, English Newspapers

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has heavily affected all aspects of human life. Leaving out the social, psychological, and economic effects; the coronavirus has introduced a number of linguistic changes. The present study analyzes the impact of COVID-19 on Language in terms of the use of intensifiers and the presentation of the Coronavirus, especially by the media. The best way to analyze a language is with the help of its expressive aspect, that is, the use of intensifiers, as noted by Tagliamonte & Roberts (2005). This study followed a mixed-method approach. The researchers took two different sets of four-month data, containing 134000 tokens in each from 16 international English newspapers from four different countries and named as pre-COVID corpus and COVID-19 corpus with the boundary line of 30th December 2019. Ten negative and ten positive intensifiers were classified and then analyzed with the help of Antconc (Version 3.5.8). The findings of this study showed that after the COVID-19 outbreak the negative intensifiers have been more frequently used as compared to the past. The frequent use of the negative intensifier “deadly” and similar adjectives with the COVID-19 delineates the current scenario of frustration, fear, and depression. Moreover, the COVID-19 impact on the use of language may affect the ideologies and bent of mind of the people and leads them towards stress, depression, frustration, and anxiety, which can also cause mental issues and negative feelings.

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Published

31-12-2021