Actually, it's more than pragmatics, it's really grammaticalization

Cathleen Waters


While many pragmatic studies of the adverb actually have been undertaken, I present a sociolinguistic analysis, using a 1.2 million word corpus of spoken North American English, stratified by sex and age. Results demonstrate that the use of actually is dependent on age, with younger speakers showing a (statistically significant) greater use. Furthermore, as actually progresses along its path of grammaticalization, it is interacting with its most common variant, really, as each continues to specialize both in function and the syntactic constraints that govern use.


adverbs, Canadian English

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