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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

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Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Social Variation in Intensifier Use: Constraint on -ly adverbialization in the past?
Author: Terttu Nevalainen
Institution: University of Helsinki
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: While the formation of deadjectival adjuncts by means of -ly suffixation is regular in the mainstream varieties of English today (they sing Adj-ly), that of intensifying word modifiers is much less so (they sing Adj-ly/Ø well). Both categories are typically more variable in many social and regional varieties, in which zero-form adverbs dominate. This article studies the extent to which grammatical and social conditioning played a role in the choice of the form of deadjectival intensifiers between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries, before the era of normative grammar. The results indicate that some of the trends of social embedding identified in Present-day English can indeed be observed in the past, but also that the -ly suffix was clearly less grammaticalized four hundred years ago than it is today.


This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 12, Issue 2.

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