Daisuke Suzuki Kyoto University “A corpus-based study of modal adverbs in English from the viewpoint of grammaticalization.”
This study sheds light on modal adverbs in Present-Day English with respect to certain processes of linguistic change, paying particular attention to two groups of synonymic expressions: no doubt, doubtless, undoubtedly and certainly, surely, definitely. After extracting data regarding these adverbs from the British National Corpus, the study aims to determine two factors regarding their patterns of occurrences: (i) whether they occur in initial, medial or final position, and (ii) which pronouns fill the subject slot in their clauses. The results of this analysis show that the modal adverbs differ in the part that they play in fulfilling the communicative function; that is, at a discourse-pragmatic level. Moreover, I suggest that no doubt and surely are further advanced than the others in the processes of grammaticalization.