Edited by Vaclav Brezina, Dana Gablasova and Tony McEnery
[International Journal of Learner Corpus Research 5:2] 2019
► pp. 253–279
Certainty adverbs in spoken learner language
The role of tasks and proficiency
Our research examines the use of three stance adverbs of certainty (actually, really and obviously) across B1, B2 and C1 levels in the Trinity Lancaster Corpus (TLC). Particularly, we examined the occurrence of these adverbs in the subset of Spanish L1 speakers from Mexico and Spain. Really, actually and obviously were found to display a distinctive frequency of use across different proficiency levels and the different speaking tasks analysed. Dialogic tasks favoured a more frequent use of really and actually, while obviously was hardly used. Qualitative analyses of the pragmatic functions of really and actually revealed that there is an increase in the use of meanings to express hedging in really and factualness in actually across the proficiency levels. Our research confirms the finding in Gablasova et al. (2017) that the type of speaking task conditions speakers’ repertoire of linguistic devices, although we argue that this conditioning operates on different levels.