Volume 18, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1566-5852
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9854
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Over the past two centuries, the use of the adjective underwent a specific semantic expansion in Irish English. Apart from the meaning of ‘displaying grandeur’, the adjective came to mean ‘fine’, ‘alright’ and ‘in good form’, both as an expression of the speaker’s situation and as a reference to that of the addressee. This development can be shown to represent a case of subjectification, as described seminally by Elizabeth Traugott in various publications (e.g., Traugott 1995 ), with the element of intersubjectification arising somewhat later ( Traugott 2003 ). Through the examination of various texts, this paper examines the diachronic development of in its various uses and the rise of the Irish English extension with a consideration of possible precursors and parallels in other varieties. The subjective and intersubjective uses of are labelled “approving ” and “reassuring ” respectively and are shown to be in keeping with other features of Irish discourse structure and pragmatics.


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