Seriously, where do illocutionary adverbs come from?
This chapter reports on a corpus-based reappraisal of the two main hypotheses about the development of (content-related) illocutionary adverbs from lexically related narrow-scope readings: The reanalysis hypothesis, which relies on contexts in which the adverb is ambiguous between a narrow-scope and an illocutionary reading (bridging contexts), and the ellipsis analysis, which relies on structural reduction and the ellipsis of the verbal element speaking in the specific pattern [manner adverb + speaking]. The two hypotheses cannot be empirically corroborated as both bridging contexts and the pattern [manner adverb + speaking] are conspicuously absent from our data. Our empirical findings, however, are compatible with a more indirect ellipsis scenario that builds on collocationally induced semantic change: The manner adverbs frankly, honestly, and seriously, through frequent cooccurrence with communication verbs, absorb the illocutionary feature of the communication verb (and its external argument feature), which allows the adverbs to be merged and licensed in the CP-domain.
CitationHaumann, Killie: Seriously, where do illocutionary adverbs come from?. In: Amador-Moreno CP, Haumann D, Peters. Digitally-assisted Historical English Linguistics , 2023. Routledge p. 125-150
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