Routes for development in the pragmaticalization of sorry as a formulaic marker


  • Clara Molina



Diachronic transition, Adjective, Pragmaticalization, Formulaic marker


This paper explores the diachronic transition of the adjective sorry from lexical towards grammatical status which resulted in its entrenchment as a formulaic pragmatic marker. As attested by Helsinki Corpus data, the gradual emergence of a number of context-bound complementation patterns (each one linked to distinct semantic nuances of the term) was matched by an increasing detachment of sorry from the domain of sadness, within which the adjective had been central since the earliest times. After the developments had been completed in Early Modern English, the increasingly frequent use of sorry in everyday discourse made for the entrenchment of the novel pragmaticalized instances, which have only gained salience in the language ever since. The processes presented in this paper provide insights into the factors involved in diachronic change and contribute to the ongoing discussion of pragmatic markers.


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How to Cite

Molina, Clara. 2011. “Routes for Development in the Pragmaticalization of Sorry As a Formulaic Marker”. Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina De Estudios Ingleses, no. 24 (November):191-212.