Langue française n° 160 (4/2008)
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This paper focuses on live hyperboles in ordinary conversation, defined as utterances expressing intense and sincere feelings. After showing that, as far as the referential and pragmatic approaches are concerned, hyperboles only amount to gross exaggeration, without offering any way of scaling them, the paper turns to a dialogical approach (cf. Bakhtine) which takes into account the utterer’s relationship to the addressee and to interdiscourse. It points out that linguistic markers of intensity (prosodic, lexical, morphological or syntactical) are often found alongside some dialogical markers. The latter make it possible to articulate, at least, two points of view: a normative one assumed to be that of the doxa, of a third party or of the addressee, and an hyperbolic one that the speaker is trying to bring the addressee round to sharing.