English evidential -<i>ly</i> adverbs in the noun phrase from a functional perspective release_lhm7ldvg2nan3dm7esula6xfh4

by Lois Kemp, Kees Hengeveld

Published in Open Linguistics by Walter de Gruyter GmbH.

2022   p573-592

Abstract

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title> This article addresses the question of how the distribution and role of English evidential -<jats:italic>ly</jats:italic> adverbs in the noun phrase can be accounted for using the framework of Functional Discourse Grammar (FDG). Both adverbs and adjectives occurring in noun phrases are categorized in various ways. The results of the categorization offer insights into the distribution of these adverbs and adjectives. Four generalizations are arrived at concerning the combination of evidential adverbs and adjectives in noun phrases. First, the lower in the FDG hierarchy the category of an adverb, the less frequent the occurrence of that category in the noun phrase. Thus, higher reportative adverbs are very frequent, and lower adverbs of event perception are very infrequent. Second, evidential adverbs do not modify adjectives that express the speaker's subjective evaluation of the referent. Third, the higher-level reportative and inferential adverbs modify adjectives expressing permanent properties, whereas the lower adverbs of deduction and event perception do not. Finally, neither restrictiveness nor the evaluative vs descriptive nature of the adjective appears to solely determine the category of evidential modification of the adjective. We furthermore discuss the pragmatic effects of the evidential adverb in the noun phrase, such as distancing, and the stress shift that may accompany it.
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