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Literally does not always mean literally: a corpus-based diachronic study on literally as an intensifier

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Authors
Park, Semi
Issue Date
2016-12
Publisher
Department of English Language and Literature, Seoul National University
Citation
SNU Working Papers in English Linguistics and Language, Vol.14, pp. 124-142
Keywords
intensifiergrammaticalizationmodal adverbsemantic changesemantic bleachingpragmatic strengthening
Abstract
This paper explores the adverb literally’s linguistic state over the past century. Nine-hundred tokens of literally are collected from the Corpus of Historical American English and a social network service, Twitter. Three decades (the 1900s, 1950s, and 2000s) of data are examined as well as the data of 2016. The empirical data is investigated by literally’s seven pragmatic functions and syntactic patterns. The results of data analysis are not consistent, but the overall results support the idea that literally is going through grammaticalization, though it is far from a complete internsifier.
Language
English
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10371/138389
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College of Humanities (인문대학)English Language and Literature (영어영문학과)SNU working papers in English language and linguisticsSNU working papers in English language and linguistics Vol.14 (2016)
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