Intensifying adverbs ‘outside the clause’

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This paper discusses utterance-final uses of intensifying adverbs (absolutely, definitely, really and totally), which are often ambiguous in terms of their syntactic status between postposed clausal constituents and extra-clausal units. These adverbs are analyzed as macrogrammatical elements serving different cognitive tasks arising at one particular point in the linear production of an utterance, namely its potential end, such as modifying illocutionary force and strengthening the display of alignment with the co-participant’s views. As part of macrogrammar, they accompany a microgrammatical unit, which is characterized by internal morphosyntactic dependency relations. Final intensifying adverbs are showcase examples of the piece-by-piece emergence of linguistic structure in on-line speech production and thus require an analytic approach based on the linearity of speaking in time.


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