Language literally changes: usage guides and their influence on language attitudes

Alyssa A. Severin

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Usage guides are a phenomenon which receives a lot of attention from linguists studying prescriptivism (see, e.g., Anderwald 2012; Tieken-Boon van Ostade 2010, 2011; Lukač 2018). Such research focuses on the pronouncements they contain and their influence on past language change; however, the role usage guides play in current metalinguistic discussion is less clear. In this chapter, I draw on data from the HUGE database (Straaijer 2014) and the website Reddit to examine metalinguistic discussion of emphatic literally. I explore what influence, if any, usage guides have on current metalinguistic discourse online. A comparison of the supporting justification advocates and opponents of emphatic literally provide to support their position suggests that usage guides may have some influence in the nature of the arguments made online; however, usage guides themselves do not serve as supporting authorities in that space.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDynamics of language changes
    Subtitle of host publicationlooking within and across languages
    EditorsKeith Allan
    Place of PublicationSingapore
    PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
    Number of pages16
    ISBN (Electronic)9789811564307
    ISBN (Print)9789811564291
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    • prescriptivism
    • descriptivism
    • usage guides
    • CMC
    • Reddit
    • English


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