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Multimodal Hyperbole

Authors
  • Ferré, Gaëlle
Type
Published Article
Journal
Multimodal Communication
Publisher
De Gruyter Mouton
Publication Date
May 29, 2014
Volume
3
Issue
1
Pages
25–50
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/mc-2014-0003
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

This paper presents a study of hyperbole in the framework of Multimodal Discourse Analysis, based on video recordings of conversational English. Hyperbole is a figure of speech used to express exaggerated statements which do not correspond to reality but which are nevertheless not perceived as lies. Hyperbole opens up a discourse frame and establishes a new focus on information in speech making that piece of information more salient than surrounding discourse. The emphasis thus created thanks to various semantic-syntactic processes is reflected in prosody and gesture with the use of focalization devices. At last, prosodic patterns and gestures do not only reinforce verbal emphasis, they may fully contribute to the emphasis in a complementary way, and even constitute hyperbolic communicative acts by themselves. In the conclusion, we propose that hyperbole is used by speakers to construct an individual, intersubjective identity element.

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