Volume 18 (2013) Pages 67-80
Large numbers of English -ly adverbs involve more than one usage. The literature of linguistics frequently notes the semantic alternation of manner adverbs and the sentential usage of -ly adverbs. Most -ly adverbs are derived from their adjectival stem with the addition of the suffix -ly. Although meanings of -ly adverbs can be roughly understood in terms of their adjective stems found in dictionaries, these descriptions are often not sufficient to comprehend the various functions of -ly adverbs. This paper attempts to propose an effective method to teach conversational usages of -ly adverbs by using data from movies. These -ly adverbs, retrieved from 50 movies with a total number of 1904 examples, are divided into six main types based on their semantic function. This paper focuses on three types of noteworthy usages: "sentential," "manner," and "responsive" -ly adverbs. Lastly, the paper demonstrates the complexity of these adverbs. I advocate the in-class use of movies with these kinds of ambiguous movie subtitles as an aide to comprehend the semantics of -ly adverbs. The ambiguity of the subtitles becomes an asset to the students as they attempt to work out the actual semantics of the -ly adverbs.