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semantic prosody


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  • also discourse prosody, describes the way in which certain seemingly neutral words can come to carry positive or negative associations through frequently occurring with particular collocations.

    An example given by John Sinclair is the combination set in, which has a negative prosody: rot is a prime example for what is going to set in. Other well-known examples are cause, which is also mostly used in a negative context (accident, catastrophe, etc.), though one can also say that something "caused happiness". (Wikipedia)

    September 1, 2008