Sentence adverbials

Let’s now turn to an interesting case, sentence adverbials, that is, adverbs or adverbial phrases that express the attitude of the speaker towards the main sentence. According to Cruttenden (1997), “most so-called sentence adverbials cannot take the nucleus at all when final in an intonation group”. He gives some examples to prove that point:

(240) *I don’t know how to do it fortunately.

(241) *I’ve found out her telephone number incidentally.

It is quite clear that the accentual pattern above is unacceptable. So, as Cruttenden, Wells and other authors point out, in order for sentence adverbials to be accented they must have their own IPs, usually with a rise tone.

The deaccentuation of final sentence adverbials is, in any case, a very likely possibility, as the following examples show:

(242) sound_loud_speaker Is there a Tasmanian oral tradition that the storytelling of circular narrative is part of, do you think? (Eleanor Wachtel; Montreal, Quebec, Canada).

(243) sound_loud_speaker Anyway, anybody who undergoes that is marked by it forever, I think (Seamus Heaney; Dublin, Ireland).

(244) sound_loud_speaker The people who didn’t get the spoils [1] were disproportionately humiliated, I guess (George Saunders; Amarillo, Texas, US).

(245) sound_loud_speaker So it’s liberating in that sense, / and also inspiring, in a way / because you say / well, if you don’t do (it) / who will ever do it, then (Colm Toibin; Enniscorthy, Ireland).

(246) sound_loud_speaker What’s one more day in New York, for crying out loud? (Mark Ruffalo; Wisconsin, US).

(247) sound_loud_speaker He’s not an ordinary young man. He’s Shakespeare, for Heaven’s sake! (Germaine Greer; Melbourne, Australia).

(248) sound_loud_speaker A kind of contradictory view of sexuality, in some ways (Carolyne Larrington, Oxford University).


(249) What’s a minister here for, then? (Paul Eddington; London, UK).



[1] See Old information, repeated words.

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