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Sign Systems Studies

Volume 29, Issue 2, 2001

Larissa Naiditch
Pages 519-532

Remarks on semantic peculiarities of numerals and on usage of numerals in several kinds of texts

The paper deals with the general peculiarities of numerals. Cases where the sense of numeral cannot simply be explained by the idea of counting, of number, or of order are considered. Special types of texts folklore on the one band, propaganda on the other hand - are analyzed. For the latter the examples from two Soviet central official newspapers - Pravda and lzvestija of May 1986 have been chosen. These texts partially reflect common stylistic features of Soviet propagandistic discourse of the "period of stagnation"; their specificity is caused by the special situation, which obtained in the country in those days - the catastrophe in the atomic power station in Chemobyl. It is claimed that all the considered examples reflect several aspects of meaning of numerals contained in their general semantics. Thus, the development of the evaluative meaning is explained by the semantics of degree contained in the numerals. These data contribute to Frege's idea of relativity of number, but from another, purely linguistic, point of view.

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