“You Assert This?”: An Empirical Study of Weight Expressions

“Man is descended from some lowly organised form.” This is one of Charles Darwin’s conclusions in his Descent of Man (1882: 788). The sentence is interesting from many points of view. He uses the vague term lowly organised form. For his moderate defenders it was possible to use broad interpretations; antagonists tended to narrow it down, and won over the media: Darwin was understood simply to say that we descended from apes. From the point of view of this article, the terms show, attempt to show, and certainly are interesting. “Show” may be plausibly interpreted as implying verification (of a hypothesis). Darwin uses a large diversity of weight expressions, some of them complex: “the fashions of savages are far more permanent than ours; and whenever their bodies are artificially modified, this is necessarily the case” (ibid., p. 583).


Hard Science Observational Level English Work Amazon Rain Forest Complicated Utterance 
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© Springer 2005

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