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01/13/2018

Stance adverbials

In language there are certain linguistic elements that are more frequently or typically used in a parenthetical or detached way than other elements. In English, this is the case with the words that belong to the grammatical class of adverbs. As Ramat and Ricca observe, the functional property of the linguistic category of adverbs is that they “add information to other linguistic elements which can stand on their own, semantically as well as syntactically” [18, 187].

Biber et al. distinguish three main groups of adverbs, namely [12, 765]:

  1. a) circumstance adverbs (eagerly, here, now, slowly, then, weekly);
  2. b) stance adverbs (apparently, clearly, frankly, perhaps, technically, unfortunately);
  3. c) linking adverbs (additionally, besides, moreover, nevertheless).

As they note [12, 765], of the three groups, circumstance adverbs are the most common class in all four registers of the English corpus (conversation, fiction, news, and academic discourse) that they have studied. Circumstance adverbs, however, are those that are the most dependent and least flexible regarding their position in the sentence.

Conversely, stance and linking adverbs are detached, both syntactically and semantically, from the core propositional content. Stance adverbs provide a comment about the propositional content while linking adverbs signal the way in which the propositional content of the one utterance relates to that of utterances elsewhere in the text. Stance adverbs convey information about the propositional content of the sentence or about the speech act that is associated with the sentence, occupying the interpersonal level of meaning, which concerns speaker/hearer attitudes [55].

The adverbs that fall within the group of stance adverbs are often treated in the literature in connection with adverbs from the group of linking adverbs, under a number of labels and within a variety of frameworks. Depending on the interests of scholars, stance adverbs are treated next to linking adverbs, under the label of “sentence adverbs” or “sentence adverbials” or “sentence modifiers” [55].

Stance adverbials are primarily single adverbs (e.g., frankly, obviously), although they can also include prepositional phrases and noun phrases functioning as adverbials (e.g., in general, no doubt). Four semantic classes of stance adverbials are distinguished: attitudinal, non-factive, factive, likelihood. Complement clause constructions in English provide an especially rich source of stance expressions.

Stance adverbials can be split into three main categories, based on semantic and pragmatic criteria, namely: epistemic, attitude and style adverbials [11, 854].

Epistemic adverbials express the writer’s comment on some aspect of the truth-value of the proposition commenting on factors such as certainty, reality, sources, limitations, and precision of the proposition expressed by the relevant clause [11, 764]:

As a matter of fact, Claudia and her friend were given the name of this Black Madam on line by an on-line friend who highly recommended her [COCA, SPOK, 2011].

Undeniably, Rocky has been a mixed blessing for Stallone – a creation so powerful that it overshadows its creator [COCA, MAG, 2006].

 

TABLE 1. STANCE ADVERBIALS

STYLE STANCE confidentially,

figuratively, frankly, honestly, literally, seriously, truthfully

quite frankly, quite honestly, quite simply in a word, in brief, with all due respect if I may say so, if you don’t mind my asking more simply put, putting it bluntly, strictly speaking, technically speaking, to tell you the truth
ATTITUDE STANCE Evaluation; judgement; assessment of expectations amazingly, astonishingly, conveniently, curiously, disturbingly, fortunately, hopefully, inevitably, interestingly, ironically, predictably, quite rightly, regrettably, sadly, sensibly, surprisingly, unbelievably, unfortunately, wisely even more importantly, rather surprisingly, even worse, oddly enough, rather surprisingly to my surprise as might be expected, as you might guess, as you would expect most surprising of all, rather surprisingly
EPISTEMIC STANCE Imprecision about, approximately kind of, like, roughly, sort of If you can call it that So to speak
Viewpoint or perspective from our perspective, in my opinion, in my view, in our view, in some cases, in the author’s view
Limitation generally, mainly, typically in general, in most cases, in most instances, on the whole
Source/ evidence apparently, evidently, reportedly According to… As X motes
Actuality & reality actually, really for a fact, in actual fact, in fact as a matter of fact
Doubt & certainty certainly, definitely, maybe, obviously, of course, perhaps, probably, undeniably, undoubtedly most likely, quite likely for all I know, without doubt No doubt I think, I guess, I bet, I would say, it seems, it appears
SINGLE WORD ADVERB ADV. P. PREP. PHRASE N. P. FINITE CLAUSE NON-FINITE CLAUSE

 

Attitude adverbials express the writer’s opinion about the content of the clause:

As might be expected, these forms of violence reflect Lawrence’s own trajectory as a writer [COCA, ACAD, 2007].

Most surprising of all, researchers are accumulating evidence that the line between normal and abnormal personality is much more subtle than anyone imagined [COCA, MAG, 2005].

Predictably, one of the kids pushed the other off when they were about twenty feet up, and Edward instinctively reached over the rope to break his fall, but the safety field caught the kid in midshriek and bounced him up and down like a ball for a moment, just as he and his friends undoubtedly knew it would [COCA, FIC, 2011].

The use of simple adverbs as attitudinal adverbs is characteristics of English. Their value in writing is that they form a very compact and elegant way of expressing an opinion on what you are talking about, without pushing yourself into foreground.

Style adverbials form a rather special class. They express the writer’s view regarding the actual formulation of the sentence which follows. Style stance adverbs convey a speaker’s comment about the style or form of the utterance, often clarifying how the speaker is speaking or how the utterance should be understood [Biber, 764]:

With all due respect, even with all of the debate and all the names have been thrown around this week, I want people to be partisan and stand for their principles [COCA, SPOK, 2011].

Now how was I supposed to do that? Physically, it was impossible. Figuratively, it didn’t make any sense, since my mouth was essentially what made me valuable to BOFFO [COCA, FIC, 2010].

Strictly speaking, it is a digital way to test designs against predictable forces [COCA, ACAD, 2010].

Style adverbs are more common in conversation than in other registers and attitude adverbs are slightly more common in news and academic prose than in conversation and fiction.

The research considers patterns of use for three major grammatical systems used to express stance: modal words, adverbials, and complement clause constructions.

For the hereinafter investigating of stance adverbials which function in the sentence as the Parenthesis, the Table 2 below lists the adverbs under the three ways of qualifying a viewpoint [55].

The adverbs that may be used as the linguistic realization of the epistemic way of qualifying standpoints belong to what are traditionally identified as modal or epistemic adverbs (certainly, clearly, perhaps, possibly, probably, surely) and evidential or hearsay adverbs (allegedly, apparently, obviously, reportedly, seemingly), as well as domain adverbs (emotionally, ideally, logically, officially, technically, theoretically).

The adverbs that can be used as the linguistic realization of the evaluative way of qualifying standpoints belong to the group of adverbs that are generically labeled as “evaluative adverbs” or “attitudinal adverbs” (fortunately, happily, interestingly, oddly, strangely, unfortunately).

The adverbs that can be used as the linguistic realization of the ‘illocutionary’ way of qualifying standpoints add a comment that concerns the act that is being performed, not the content of the act. Such a comment indicates the language user’s awareness of the conditions that pertain to the performance of an assertive speech act. the adverbs that constitute the linguistic realization of this way of qualifying come both from the group of the so-called “illocutionary adverbs” (frankly, honestly, seriously), and from a group of adverbs that are usually included among the epistemic adverbs or treated in the literature under the label of “expectation markers” (actually, admittedly, in fact, of course).

 

TABLE 2. STANCE ADVERBS FOR QUALIFYING A STANDPOINT

EPISTEMIC WAY OF QUALIFYING EVALUATIVE WAY OF QUALIFYING ILLOCUTIONARY WAY OF QUALIFYING
ADVERBS COMMENTING ON THE COMMITMENT ADVERBS COMMENTING ON THE EVALUATION ADVERBS COMMENTING ON THE PERFORMANCE OF THE WHOLE ACT
MODAL ADVERBS

arguably, assuredly, certainly, clearly, conceivably, definitely, doubtlessly, evidently, for certain, improbably, incontestably, incontrovertibly, maybe, no doubt, perhaps, possibly, presumably, probably, surely, undoubtedly

 

EVIDENTIAL ADVERBS

allegedly, apparently, manifestly, obviously, ostensibly, patently, purportedly, reportedly, reputedly, seemingly, supposedly, visibly

 

DOMAIN ADVERBS

aesthetically, architecturally, biologically, chemically, commercially, culturally, ecologically, economically, emotionally, ethically, financially, formally, ideally, ideologically, intellectually, linguistically, logically, materially, mechanically, mentally, morally, officially, physically, politically, practically, privately, psychologically, racially, realistically, scientifically, sexually, socially, spiritually, statistically, superficially, technically, technologically, theoretically, unofficially

(EVENT-ORIENTED/ CLAUSE ORIENTED) EVALUATIVE ADVERBS

bizarrely, commendably, conveniently, curiously, disappointingly, fortunately, funnily, happily, hopefully, illogically, interestingly, ironically, justifiably, justly, luckily, oddly, paradoxically, preferably, regretfully, regrettably, sadly, significantly, strangely, surprisingly, tragically, unaccountably, unfortunately, unhappily unreasonably

ILLOCUTIONARY ADVERBS

a) MANNER-OF-SPEAKING

bluntly, candidly, confidentially, frankly, honestly, really, seriously, truly, truthfully

 

b) METALINGUISTIC

basically, briefly, broadly, figuratively, generally, hypothetically, literally, metaphorically, objectively, personally, roughly, simply, strictly

 

EXPECTATION MARKERS

actually, admittedly, avowedly, factually, in effect, in fact, in reality, indeed, naturally, of course, really

 

 

 

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