Stative adverbs in English. A study of adverbial productivity and orientation
The study maps the development of a new class of adverbs in English, i.e. 'stative physical adverbs' of the type -ly, e.g. redly and massively. Such adverbs are claimed to be ungrammatical; however, the data show that this is no longer the case, but that English has changed with regard to this point of the grammar. The study includes an analysis of the linguistic context in which the corpus adverbs occur. Elements of this analysis are used in an attempt at explaining the change. The phenomenon is explained in terms of a need to simplify the grammar and is also regarded as a product of the adverbialization process that has been affecting the language for several hundred years. The study also discusses the 'orientation' (or 'scope') of physical adverbs, where it emerges that they may be oriented to, i.e. modify, a number of different elements. The discussion shows clearly how insufficient - not to say misleading - the traditional definition of adverbs is. In Modern English adverbs must be said to be highly multifunctional rather than simply verbmodifying. Other important issues are principles of adverbial classification, the relationship between idiolects and the language 'as a whole', and morphological productivity.
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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