English Today

Original Article

‘Sweet as!’: the intensifier as in New Zealand and Australian English

Joseph Sowa

ABSTRACT

The use of ‘as’ as a post-modifying intensifier is a construction that has become well-established in Australian and New Zealand English but is rare elsewhere. Only recently has its usage begun to be studied. In 2002, Laurie Bauer and Winifred Bauer included adj + as in their study of intensifier usage among middle-school aged children in New Zealand. Later, in 2006, Michael Head and Peter Petrucci built on Bauer and Bauer's work by studying this specific construction using the Wellington Corpus of Spoken New Zealand English (WSC) and quotations in newspaper articles. Since these studies, adj + as has become increasingly grammaticalised, as evidenced by its use in the predicate and attributive positions, its modification by adverbs, and its use as an adverb. The usage is further examined in this article.

BIODATA

JOSEPH SOWA studies at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.