Мария Капшина, Морана, Spielbrecher (viata) wrote in linguaphiles,
Мария Капшина, Морана, Spielbrecher
viata
linguaphiles

Awfully good

There is a number of very similar cases of amelioration in different languages when a word originally meaning "very bad", "terrifying" starts meaning "very". That is, awful in English (thanks awfully), terrible in French (terriblement gourmand), страшно in Russian (страшно красиво), 恐ろしく (恐ろしく頭が良い) in Japanese.
So, I've got two questions. 1. Can you continue the list (preferrably, with non-Indo-European languages)? 2. Have you seen a plausible explanation for this type of semantic change?
Tags: semantics
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  • UDDER and WATER

    To the memory of Vladislav Illich-Svitych. This is just to bring attention to something very ‘Nostratic’ (far beyond ‘Indo-European’ languages —…

  • Three one-hundredths of a second

    (Somewhat prompted by watching the Olympics.) Why is that silly redundancy there in "three one-hundredths of a second"? Nobody says "two one-thirds…

  • Word 'Climax'. A note for aspiring etymologists.

    The English word climax has two seemingly incompatible meanings of "climax" and "orgasm". Yet, we should not forget that the word has not only a…