Osgood et al (1957) laid out an all purpose practical method for assessing meaning and meaning change using seven-point rating scales.  They called this the “semantic differential (SD).”  It is widely used for attitude, marketing, and other lines of research.

 

While there is an uncertain theoretical account of how it works, at the very least it employs some universal aspects of language including comparative qualifiers and quantifiers.  Osgood and colleagues developed SDs in thirty some languagess.

 

It also might be viewed as a short form of an interview. Each scale rating corresponds to a question, e.g. "Is chudle extremely little?"

 

 See the online paper by Heise (below).  Many online sites offer advice in forming and using SD scales, including scale selection.

 

In many studies, the SD has proven reliable (~.5 scale unit) and valid (correlating with other measures.)  Here are some typical scales applicable in many domains.

 

Big      __ __ __ __ __ __ __ Little

Good   __ __ __ __ __ __ __  Bad

Deep    __ __ __ __ __ __ __ Shallow

Sweet  __ __ __ __ __ __ __  Sour

Fast     __ __ __ __ __ __ __  Slow

Young  __ __ __ __ __ __ __ Old

Nice     __ __ __ __ __ __ __ Awful

Quiet   __ __ __ __ __  __ __ Noisy

Strong  __ __ __ __ __ __ __ Weak

 

Where __ positions might be identified with

 “extremely”, “quite”, and “somewhat” and “neither or neutral”.

 

For example:  extremely big, quite big, somewhat big,

 neither big nor little, somewhat little, quite little, and extremely little.

 

References

http://www.indiana.edu/~socpsy/papers/AttMeasure/attitude..htm

 

Osgood, C. E., Tannenbaum, P. H., & Suci, G. J. (1957). The measurement of meaning. Urbana: University of Illinois.