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1. Standardisation and Variation in English Language(s)

What is the difference between thus and thusly?

Morana LUKAČ

Résumés

Les guides d’usage et les dictionnaires admettent dans leur majorité que THUSLY est une création humoristique de la moitié du 19ème siècle au Etats-Unis se substituant par hypercorrection à THUS (Butterfield 2007:157). La plupart des guides prescriptifs critiquent l’usage de THUSLY et le décrivent au mieux comme ‘devant être évité’ et remplacé par THUS, lorsqu’ils ne le qualifient pas simplement de ‘non mot ‘(Lukač and Tieken-Boon van Ostade à paraître).
Afin de déterminer quels étaient les seuils d’acceptabilité actuels du mot, j’ai mené, avec Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade, une enquête en ligne, accessible entre juillet et septembre 2015, dans laquelle il était demandé aux participants d’évaluer le registre du mot sur une échelle de six (oral informel, oral formel, écrit informel, écrit formel, langage internet, inacceptable quel que soit le registre).
Prenant les résultats de cette enquête comme point de départ, j’essaie dans cet article d’établir si des changements actuellement à l’œuvre sont corrélés à des seuils d’acceptabilité plus élevés chez les locuteurs les plus jeunes. Pour ce faire, je m’appuie sur un très large corpus constitué de données en ligne - le Global Web-Based Corpus (GloWbE) (Davies 2013) et le corpus NOW (Davies 2013) – dans lesquels on trouve un grand nombre d’occurrences de ce mot à faible fréquence. Je fais l’hypothèse qu’en dépit des prescriptions contre l’usage du mot, THUSLY gagne progressivement statut et légitimité à l’heure actuelle. Sachant que l’on attribue communément une origine américaine à THUSLY et qu’il est principalement traité dans les guides d’usage américains (Lukač and Tieken-Boon van Ostade à paraître), j’explore également la fréquence de son usage dans différentes variétés d’anglais ainsi que ses effets de sens en contexte.
L’objet de cet article est donc d’éclairer comment s’établissent les liens entre le traitement de THUSLY dans la littérature prescriptive, les changements d’attitude des locuteurs à son égard et la variation dans l’usage qui en est fait

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1. Introduction

  • 1 The HUGE database was developed in the context of the project Bridging the Unbridgeable: Linguists, (...)
  • 2 Usage guides are authoritative all-in-one reference works comprising advice on correct usage (Busse (...)

1The HUGE (Hyper Usage Guide of English) database compiled at Leiden University as part of the research project Bridging the Unbridgeable: Linguists, Prescriptivists and the General Public by Robin Straaijer (2014)1 includes 123 usage problems, which are defined as disputed items of usage in British and American English. Among them, the usage of the word thusly is one more recently added to the usage guide tradition.2 Although it is first mentioned only in 1927 – that is, relatively late in a database which includes 77 usage guides published between 1770 and 2010 – it has since its introduction appeared regularly in the US American publications. Thusly has been described by usage guide authors as “unnecessary […] since thus is already an adverb” (Allen 573), “not only a needless variant of thus […] but also a nonstandard one” (Mello Vianna et al. 309) and even as an “abomination” (Morris and Morris 599). Its usage continues to be condemned until today, most recently by Bryan Garner, who in the fourth edition of the Garner’s Modern English Usage (2016) calls thusly a “nonword”.

2In the Bridging the Unbridgeable research project we attempted to bridge the gap between prescriptivists, linguists and the general public by systematically exploring the usage guide tradition, the usage problems that they address, the attitudes of the general public towards these problems and actual usage. Embedded in this research agenda, this paper examines thusly as it is perceived through the lens of prescriptivism (§2), by the general public (§3) and the word’s actual usage (§4). For that purpose, I will analyse (i) the relationship between the prescriptive rule enforced against the usage of thusly in usage guides that are part of the HUGE database, (ii) the attitudes of speakers towards its usage and (iii) the actual usage explored by way of corpus analysis and classified by speakers of English. By comparing sentences including thus and thusly extracted from the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) (Davies 2008–), I attempt to demonstrate that factors including word meaning, genre and type of verbs modified all help distinguish between different contexts in which thus and thusly appear and account for systematic variation. This paper aims to show that in spite of the prescriptive rule (which in its most typical form indicates that thusly should be replaced by thus) thusly is a distinct adverb used in specific contexts in standard American English, which is increasingly gaining acceptance, particularly among younger speakers.

2. The prescriptivists

3Usage guides include a set of core prescriptive rules that have been handed down from the authors of one usage guide to the next, which are referred to as the “prescriptive canon” (cf. Chapman 142). The HUGE database provides ample evidence of the repetitive nature of the usage guide tradition. For instance, the distinction between shall and will is mentioned in 65 usage guides, and the variability in the choice of the preposition in different to/than/from, as well as the distinction between who and whom are taken up in 63 out of the 77 usage guides in the HUGE database. Not only are the topics repeated by the authors, but so are the arguments supporting the prescriptively enforced rules. The reiterated arguments were the focus of the analysis of the entries on thusly in 16 usage guides in the HUGE database. As previously reported in Lukač and Tieken-Boon van Ostade (forthcoming), thusly is a usage problem embedded in the American prescriptive tradition: 11 out of the 16 respective usage guides are written for the American readership. If we take a look at the frequencies of the word in GloWbE (Davies 2013), the recently compiled 1.9-billion-word corpus of Global Web-Based English, it becomes apparent that thusly is most frequently used in American English and perhaps does not appear often enough in other varieties to be picked up by usage guide authors.

Table 1 Frequency of thusly in GloWbe

Table 1 Frequency of thusly in GloWbe

4The origins of the word are, according to several usage guides, associated with nineteenth-century American humorists who coined the word as an example of a humorous hypercorrection and “[an] ‘ignorant’ substitute for thus” (Wilson 437) with the aim of “imitating the speech of poorly educated people straining to sound stylish” (The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style 464). Both the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and Merriam-Webster list 1865 as the year of the first recorded usage of thusly. The example sentence from the OED, taken from the 1865 December issue of Harper’s Magazine in (1) and the earliest recorded usage of thusly in the Corpus of Historical American English (COHA) (Davies 2010– ) from 1967 (2), both illustrate humorous contexts in which the word is used:

  • 3 Josh Billings is the pen name of the well-known American humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw (1818–85).

(1) It happened, as J. Billings would say, ‘thusly’.3

(2) He concloods thusly: – “I am forced to ask yoo, ez one enjoyin confidenshel relations with Him who occupies the Presidenshel chair, to hev it given out that I stand in opposition to him.” (COHA:1867:FIC:Swingin round the Cirkle)

5Some of the first records of it its usage in the Google Books corpus indicate that thusly may have been simultaneously used in non-fiction writing without humorous connotations. Consider the following examples:

(3) “[B]ut not content with carrying his ill-temper towards Scottish Masonry into his Grand Commandery, he lugs it into the recesses of Royal Arch Masonry, in the notice of the District of Columbia by attacking Comp. Rockwell thusly: ‘In the correspondence, Comp. Rockwell gives his opinion as a ‘33d,’ which has about as much to do with the affairs of Royal Arch Masonry as ‘the man in the moon’” (Google Books:1864:Proceedings of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the State of Illinois)

(4) An Alabama paper perpetrates thusly ̶ “As out shirt was not brought home in proper season this week, we called on our old washer-woman to learn the cause.” (Google Books:1871:The Latter-day Saints’ Millenial Star Vol. 33)

  • 4 I would like to thank the anonymous reviewer for suggesting a reference to this article and providi (...)

6Although thusly clearly originates from nineteenth-century American English, it remains uncertain whether it has indeed been coined by humorists as numerous sources report (cf. The American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style 464; Oxford A-Z of English Usage, 157). Considering that several instances of its usage in neutral contexts can be found at the same time when the humorists introduced it to their writing, they could have, in fact, been using the word which they have come across in actual usage. The emergence of thusly at the time may be another testament to the general tendency for morphological exceptions to regularise over time (Leiberman et al. 2007).4

7Perhaps the most constant piece of advice given by usage guide authors (9/16) regarding thusly is that it should be replaced by thus, as it is “[unnecessary since] thus is already an adverb” (Allen 573) and “merely […] a needless” and “[nonstandard] variant of thus” (Mello Vianna et al.309). “There is no such word in standard English”, Trask (284) argues “write thus, not *thusly.” Suggesting the use of one linguistic feature in place of another is conventional in usage guide writing. In fact, one of the main purposes of the genre is to help the reader decide between two or more alternatives in language (Weiner 173) such as less and fewer in referring to countable nouns (less/fewer people) or between using further and farther as the comparative of far. What is problematical, however, regarding the advice for replacing thusly with thus (as it is by and large phrased in usage guides) is the lack of accounts on the context in which thusly is used. The most notable exceptions here are Pocket Fowler’s (1999) and Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage (1989). Pocket Fowler’s (Allen 573), as Lukač and Tieken-Boon van Ostade (forthcoming) report, is the only among 16 usage guides that distinguishes between two different meanings of thusly, thusly1 “therefore” (5) and thusly2, “in this way” (6). The example sentences below illustrating the respective meaning distinction were taken from the COCA corpus (Davies 2008–) (cf. Lukač and Tieken-Boon van Ostade forthcoming):

(5) I don’t want to commit myself to a long-term relationship, and thusly, I don’t want to be financially responsible. (COCA:1993:SPOK:Ind_Geraldo)

(6) He describes his daily routine thusly: “I open my mail and I turn it over to the secretary to answer. I can go into my office now for an hour and that’s a day’s work.” (COCA:1992:MAG:jet)

8The meaning distinction proved to be relevant in measuring the acceptance rate of thusly in the survey reported on in §3 – unsurprisingly perhaps, as thusly2 is much more common than thusly1 according to the results of the corpus analysis presented in §4.

3. The general public

3.1 The survey

9To analyse the attitudes of speakers towards thusly and differences, if any, between demographic groups together with Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade I set up a questionnaire using the online survey tool Qualtrics. The survey was made available between July and September 2015. It consisted of three sections: we first tested the acceptability of thusly and flat adverbs, that is unmarked adverbs (Drive slow for Drive slowly), in standard usage. The results of the analysis of the part of the questionnaire dealing with flat adverbs are reported on elsewhere (Lukač and Tieken-Boon van Ostade forthcoming). In the second part of the questionnaire, the respondents were asked about their practices of publicly complaining about grammar and usage, for instance on social media or in newspaper letters to the editor (for results see Lukač in progress). Finally, we posed a series of demographic questions to identify the respondents’ gender, age and education, as well as whether they were native speakers of British or American English or another variety (or, alternatively, which language variety formed their preferred linguistic model). The survey was announced in the journal English Today (Tieken-Boon van Ostade 2015), it was further distributed through the Bridging the Unbridgeable project’s blog, Facebook and Twitter, and notifications about it were sent out through newsletters for graduate linguistics students at the Universities of Leiden, Basel and Freiburg as well as that of the Dutch-based Society for English Native Speaking Editors (SENSE). The survey was completed by altogether 212 respondents. Table 2 provides the sociodemographic information on the survey respondents; as they were not required to provide all answers in order to finish the survey, the total number of responses differs per question.

10Table 2 The demographics of the participants

11As Table 2 shows, almost 60 per cent of the informants who answered the question about their gender were women, with the largest number coming into the age groups 25−40 and 50−65. The youngest and oldest categories contain the fewest respondents. Among those who answered the question whether English was their mother tongue, there were slightly more native (55.6%) than non-native speakers (44.4%), and nearly 55 per cent of the informants who stated that they were native speakers identified their variety as British English and 25 per cent as American English. British English was the most commonly chosen linguistic model among the non-native speakers. The majority of the informants were well-educated: nearly 80 per cent of them attended university, which was unsurprising, considering the channels through which the survey was distributed.

3.2 Acceptability of thusly

12In testing the acceptability of thusly, we presented the participants with sentences (5) and (6) above and asked them to rate the two items on a six-fold scale. Following the classic study on attitudes towards usage problems conducted by Mittins et al. (1970), we asked the respondents whether they found the sentences to be acceptable in informal speech, formal speech, informal writing and formal writing; to these traditional categories, we also added “netspeak” – which we described as including “internet usage or chat language, texting” (cf. Crystal 402; Hedges 2011) – and the option “unacceptable under any circumstances”. The respondents could choose more than one category in their responses. They were, moreover, given the opportunity to comment on their response in a follow-up open question “If you disapprove of thusly as an adverb, why is that?”. The results of our analysis for the acceptability of the two items are summarised in Figure 1 and 2 below.

Figure 1 Acceptability rating for I don’t want to commit myself to … and thusly [“therefore”], … (thusly1) (from Lukač and Tieken-Boon van Ostade forthcoming)

Figure 1 Acceptability rating for I don’t want to commit myself to … and thusly [“therefore”], … (thusly1) (from Lukač and Tieken-Boon van Ostade forthcoming)

Figure 2 Acceptability rating for He described his daily routine thusly [“as follows”] (thusly2) (from Lukač and Tieken-Boon van Ostade forthcoming)

Figure 2 Acceptability rating for He described his daily routine thusly [“as follows”] (thusly2) (from Lukač and Tieken-Boon van Ostade forthcoming)

13The results of the analysis show that the majority of our respondents found both thusly1 and thusly2 unacceptable under any circumstances. The percentage of the unacceptable responses for thusly2 (62.3%), however, was significantly lower than that for thusly1 (79.6%) (χ2 [1, N = 497] = 10.261, p = .001). Although the percentages were higher for the acceptability of thusly2 across all categories, the difference was significant only for formal contexts: the participants found thusly2 to be more acceptable in both formal speech and writing than thusly1 (χ2 [1, N = 497] = 14.900, p = .001).

14In 2002, the American Heritage Dictionary included thusly in their Usage Panel survey, which enabled us to compare our own findings with those from thirteen years earlier. In the respective survey, no distinction was made between the two meanings of the word, and only the acceptability of what we call thusly2 was tested. The acceptability of thusly was rated by the ADH Usage Panel on the following sentence:

(7) His letter to the editor ended thusly [“as follows”]: “It is time to stop fooling ourselves.”

15At the time, 86 per cent of the ADH Usage Panel found the sentence in (7) unacceptable. When we compare these ratings to the ones presented here (unacceptable 62.3%), we can tentatively conclude that the acceptability for thusly2 (“as follows”) has risen in the meantime. The question we subsequently set out to answer was: How did the demographic groups, if at all, differ in their acceptability judgments?

3.3 Differences among demographic groups

16Considering that our respondents could choose multiple answers in judging the acceptability of thusly1 and thusly2, we categorised their responses – which together comprised 23 different categories – into a three-point scale ranging from (1) unacceptable, (2) informal, for those multiple responses in which at least one of the informal contexts or netspeak were chosen or a combination of them and (3) formal, if the respondent chose at least one of the formal contexts. To compare the mean ranks across demographic groups we performed a Kruskall-Wallis test the results of which are summarised in Table 3.

Table 3 Differences in acceptability rankings across demographic groups (Kruskal-Wallis test) (based on Lukač and Tieken-Boon van Ostade forthcoming)

Table 3 Differences in acceptability rankings across demographic groups (Kruskal-Wallis test) (based on Lukač and Tieken-Boon van Ostade forthcoming)

17Non-native speakers seem to be slightly more accepting of thusly2 than native speakers (56% of non-native speakers’ responses were categorised under “unacceptable”, as opposed to 67% of the native speakers’ responses). British respondents rejected the form more often (77%) than the American respondents (50%), with one reporting: “I’ve never heard or seen ‘thus’ used in this way...” (male, 50–65) and another: “Thusly doesn’t exist in my dialect. (Southern British, close to RP.)” (male, 50–65). One male British respondent aged between 50 and 65 acknowledges that the word may have a different status in American and British English: “I recognise that it is not uncommon and is standard in US usage. It is just not part of my idiolect, and I find it superfluous, as well as comical.” And one female non-native speaker (aged 40–50) makes the same distinction stating, in fact, that she chooses not to use thusly since her model variant is British English.

18Although interesting for further exploration, the differences between the respective groups of respondents were found not to be significant in the present study. The only significant difference we found was that among age groups for thusly2. The younger the respondents, the less likely they were to opt for the response “unacceptable”. Whereas less than half (46.6%) of those aged below 40 rated thusly2 as unacceptable, almost three quarters of those above 40 (72.2%) did the same. In the initial report of the survey, in the light of this finding, we argued for a potential change in progress, with younger speakers showing a more tolerant attitude towards the formerly stigmatised feature. Furthermore, the US American television sitcom The Big Bang Theory may have also contributed to the popularisation of the word among younger speakers. “I have informed you thusly” (instead of “I told you so.”) is a well-known quote from the series introduced by the character of the theoretical physicist, Dr. Sheldon Cooper (cf. Lukač and Tieken-Boon van Ostade forthcoming).

19The responses to the question “If you disapprove of thusly as an adverb, why is that?” were interesting in their own right, with a number of respondents describing thusly as a hypercorrection and an incorrect substitute for thus. Others describe it as excessively formal, archaic or belonging to World Englishes. All in all, the comments echo the descriptions found in usage guides (§2), pointing to the fact that our respondents, many of whom are language professionals (translators, editors and linguists), are perhaps also familiar with the prescriptions against thusly found in usage guides. Few among the respondents argued that they consider thusly to be acceptable in an appropriate context. And interestingly, I found a number of opposing statements describing the usage of thusly either as extremely formal or informal and jocular, as the following examples illustrate:

(8) It is OK in informal chat among friends when it is used consciously as something of a joke. (male, native British, over 75)

(9) I hardly ever come by it. It sounds EXCESSIVELY formal. (male, non-native, below 25)

20In further exploring the contexts in which thusly is used (be it formal or informal) as well as the genres in which it appears, I analysed 112 occurrences of thusly in the COCA corpus. Moreover, since most usage guide authors describe thusly as a “needless” variant of thus (§2), I additionally decided to explore a random sample of 100 occurrences of thus in the COCA corpus and compare them with thusly sentences taking into account the genre in which the two words occur (§4.1), the meaning of the word (§4.2), and the group of verbs that they modify (§4.3).

4. Actual usage

4.1 Genre differences in the usage of thus and thusly

  • 5 Each non-obsolete word in the OED is assigned to a frequency band based on its overall frequency sc (...)

21The OED puts thus in band 7 out of 8 frequency bands,5 which “includes the main semantic words which form the substance of ordinary, everyday speech and writing”. Thusly belongs to band 4 in the OED “marked by much greater specificity”. This categorisation stands the test of corpus analysis: in the COCA corpus thusly occurs with the frequency of 0.21 and thus 130.52 per million words. As big as these differences are, the two words seem to follow different trends: the overall usage of thus is decreasing, whereas there is evidence for the slight increase in the usage of thusly since it first appears in corpora in the 1860s. Consider Figure 3 and 4 below, both of which are based on the frequencies from the Google Books corpus:

Figure 3 Frequency per million words in the usage of thus in the Google Books (American) corpus

Figure 3 Frequency per million words in the usage of thus in the Google Books (American) corpus

Figure 4 Frequency per million words in the usage of thusly in the Google Books (American) corpus

Figure 4 Frequency per million words in the usage of thusly in the Google Books (American) corpus

22Although the Google Books corpus does not enable a genre-specific search, the data from the COHA corpus, admittedly scarcer, provides additional information on the trends in usage. Despite the fact that thus has decreased in usage across all four genres (fiction, non-fiction, magazine and newspapers), in present-day English, it remains the most frequent in non-academic texts (Figure 5). Based on the sparse data on thusly (47 hits) from the COCA corpus, it seems that the usage of this word is following the opposite trend: whereas it originally appeared only in fictional writing, over time it spread to other genres as well (Figure 6).

Figure 5 Frequency per million words in the usage of thus per section of the COHA corpus

Figure 5 Frequency per million words in the usage of thus per section of the COHA corpus

Figure 6 Frequency per million words in the usage of thusly per section of the COHA corpus

Figure 6 Frequency per million words in the usage of thusly per section of the COHA corpus

23The data from the COCA corpus summarised in Figure 7 suggest that the distribution found in the newer parts of the COHA corpus mirrors current usage: whereas thus is overwhelmingly used in academic writing (71.25%), thusly is more evenly distributed across the five genres included in the corpus. Both words are infrequent in the spoken section of COCA.

Figure 7 Distribution of thus and thusly per section of the COCA corpus (%)

Figure 7 Distribution of thus and thusly per section of the COCA corpus (%)

24In order to explore not only the genre differences, but also the contexts in which the two words are used, I extracted their occurrences from COCA, which were the starting point for the analysis in the next sections.

4.2 Differences in meaning between thus and thusly

  • 6 Where there was disagreement among the raters, I settled on the interpretation preferred by the maj (...)

25Seeing that the acceptability levels among the survey respondents were significantly higher for thusly2 than thusly1 (cf. §3), I explored the differences in the frequency of the two meanings. The 112 sentences in which thusly was used from COCA were classified either under thusly2 or thusly1 (as in examples 5 and 6) by four different raters, two native speakers and two non-native speakers of English, all of whom are language professionals. The classification resulted in substantial agreement (Fleiss’ kappa: κ = 0.8). Out of the 112 sentences as many as 92 were finally classified under thusly2,6 which, based on this sample, indicates that this is the primary way in which thusly is used. Considering moreover that thus is according to a number of usage guide authors and survey respondents seen as the natural replacement for thusly, I additionally looked at the 100 instances of thus, which I then classified under thus1 (“therefore”) or thus2 (“in this way”). The exception were 4 instances of the phrase thus far which were categorised under thus3 (“until now”). The sentences in (10) – (12) illustrate the threefold categorisation.

(10) Thus, Klebanov and his group were exploiting some special cases of the duality between supergravity and strongly coupled gauge theory. (COCA:1998:ACAD:Physics Today)

(11) The ISMGF established ties to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), thus expanding the scope of wheelchair sports. (COCA:2004:ACAD:African Arts)

(12) North American botanists marveled at Hubbell’s 300 tropical species, but that number pales in comparison to the 800 or so identified thus far in the Malaysian plot. (COCA:1994:MAG:Science News)

  • 7 The disagreement in some instances was the result of two possible interpretations of a given clause (...)

26A subset of 48 sentences from the random thus sample was classified by a native speaker of American English, resulting in substantial agreement (Cohen’s Kappa: κ = 0.78).7 Thus and thusly significantly differ in how frequently they were paraphrased as either “therefore” or “in this way” (χ2 [2, N = 212] = 13.6, p = .001), with thusly more commonly paraphrased as “in this way” (82%) than thus (58%). Moreover, in spite of the many comments made both by the survey respondents and usage guide authors that thusly is used ironically, by examining further the contexts in which thusly is used, I identified only two instances in which the authors used thusly in the respective context.

(13) A neat mind did a neat job and a neat job thusly made for a neat mind. He actually used the word when he told them. Thusly. But they like him anyway (COCA:2003:MAG:Boys Life).

(14) He’s a downscale Bill Moyers of the Insinkerator, an aproned P.C. guru of Ethnic Self-Esteem... And his message might be summarized (as he says) “thusly”: The Oppressed make better sausages. Give him Latvian dwarfs in funny hats cooking up a mess of tripe and snails in peanut butter and blueberry sauce. (COCA:1992:MAG:Harpers Magazine)

27Occasionally authors do make metalinguistic comments on the usage of thusly as in (13) and (14), as well as in the following citation from Jack Lynch’s Lexicographer’s Dilemma (2009), for whom thusly is a quintessential example of a linguistic shibboleth: “People have always depended on shibboleths of various sorts. We all do it unconsciously: when someone speaks with a regional accent, we make certain assumptions about the speaker; and when a writer uses words like thusly in an essay, we make other assumptions.” Much more often than not, however, thusly is used in neutral contexts. Its status as shibboleth, as Lynch describes it, is changing, if we take the results of the survey as indicative of general attitudes. The word, which may have its origin in the usage of humourists, is used neutrally today in standard American English.

4.3 Verbs modified by thus and thusly

28To explore further the different contexts of usage, I semantically categorised all of the verbs modified by thus and thusly according to the UCREL Semantic Analysis System or USAS (Rayson et al. 2004). The USAS taxonomy, which was originally based on the Longman Lexicon of Contemporary English (McArthur 1981), includes 21 major discourse fields listed in Table 4.

Table 4 USAS tagset top-level domains (from Rayson et al. 2004:9)

Table 4 USAS tagset top-level domains (from Rayson et al. 2004:9)

29When thus and thusly were used as conjunctive adverbs like in (15) and (16) below, I left out the semantic verb categorisation.

(15) By then the virus and its associated diseases, as well as a closely related monkey virus, had also been found in Africa. Thus, researchers assumed the virus had come to the Caribbean by way of the slave trade. (COCA:1993:ACAD:Natural History)

(16) Thusly, I will sign off, as always, your friend, confidante, and troubled soul... (COCA:2006:FIC:A tale of two summers)

30The overall frequencies of verbs per semantic category are shown in Table 5.

Table 5 Number of verbs per semantic category (Fisher’s Exact, p < 0.0001)

Table 5 Number of verbs per semantic category (Fisher’s Exact, p < 0.0001)

31The difference between the categories to which the verbs modified by thus and thusly belonged was significant. Adjusted residuals were calculated for each score in the table to determine which differences were significant at .05 level. As can be seen from Table 5, the biggest difference is that in the number of verbs belonging to the category Q: Linguistic Actions, States & Processes. Most of the verbs modified by thusly are speech act verbs belonging to this category:

(17) He was quoted in the article thusly: “I don’t even worry about it,” said Gonzalez, who was 71-91 in 2007 and 84-77 last year. (COCA:2009:NEWS:Atlanta Journal Constitution)

(18) [I]ts spokesman officially proclaimed it thusly: “Minnesota, the state of Walter Mondale, Hubert Humphrey and Kirby Puckett....” (COCA:2003:MAG:Sports Illustrated)

32On the other hand, the verbs from the categories A: General & Abstract Terms (19) and S: Social Actions, States & Processes (20) are significantly more frequently modified by thus:

(19) In 1984 one of the largest menhaden processors acquired its closest competitor, thus gaining ownership of 7 of the 11 active plants in the Gulf of Mexico. (COCA:1991:ACAD:Marine Fisheries Review)

(20) Many young people grew up with BE and had an opportunity to see successful black professionals in the corporate arena profiled in the magazine, thus providing role models for success. (COCA:1990:MAG: Black Enterprise)

33What we can observe here is yet another nuance to the distinction in the usage of the two words. The most striking finding in this part of the analysis is the frequency with which thusly occurs with speech act verbs. Like examples in (17) and (18) show, thusly, when used with speech act verbs, almost always introduces a quotation, which seems to be its most common function.

34Finally, as we can see from data in Table 5, thus functions as a conjunctive adverb as frequently as it modifies a verb (50/50 occurrences in COCA). Thusly is infrequently (10/112) used as a conjunctive adverb: the sentence in (21) is one among the few examples of such usage in the COCA corpus.

(21) Thusly, it is imperative to utilize the best instrument for assessment as well as the best assessment specialist with instrument administration. (COCA:1996:ACAD:Education)

5. Concluding remarks

35In the fourth edition of Garner’s Modern English Usage (2016), thusly is classified at Stage 1 on Garner’s language-change index. The words belonging to Stage 1 are described as “innovations” and as “displacing a traditional usage”. If anything, this paper has shown, based on corpus analysis, that thusly is hardly an innovation, but rather a word that has existed in standard American English for more than 150 years and which has become a distinct adverb that cannot be described merely as an erroneous form of thus. Whereas thus is predominantly found in academic genres, the usage of thusly is less genre-specific. Thusly is most commonly paraphrased as “in this way” and it by and large modifies speech act verbs and introduces quotations. Thus, on the other hand, in half of the occurrences analysed in this paper acts as a conjunctive adverb, which is hardly ever the case with thusly. Although the word remains low in frequency and is still ranked as unacceptable by the majority of speakers, its rise in frequency and the rising acceptance rates among younger speakers indicate that its usage may spread in the future. Finally, whereas Garner indicates that he uses the Google Ngram Viewer as a basis for his recommendations, this paper shows that the analysis of word frequency is just the first step in accounting for actual usage of a particular linguistic feature. Without exploring the actual context and regularities in a word’s usage, corpus-based advice remains incomplete and inaccurate.

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Bibliographie

References:

Primary sources:

Allen, Robert. Pocket Fowler's Modern English Usage. Oxford UP, 1999.

Butterfield, Jeremy. (ed.) Oxford A-Z of English Usage. Oxford UP, 2007.

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Notes

1 The HUGE database was developed in the context of the project Bridging the Unbridgeable: Linguists, Prescriptivists and the General Public, directed by Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade and financed by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.

2 Usage guides are authoritative all-in-one reference works comprising advice on correct usage (Busse and Schröder 2010, 87), which address usage problems (cf. Tieken-Boon van Ostade 2013).

3 Josh Billings is the pen name of the well-known American humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw (1818–85).

4 I would like to thank the anonymous reviewer for suggesting a reference to this article and providing other useful comments and recommendations.

5 Each non-obsolete word in the OED is assigned to a frequency band based on its overall frequency score. Bands run from 8 (very high-frequency words) to 1 (very low-frequency). The scale is logarithmic: words in Band 8 are around ten times more frequent than words in Band 7, which in turn are around ten times more frequent than words in Band 6.

6 Where there was disagreement among the raters, I settled on the interpretation preferred by the majority.

7 The disagreement in some instances was the result of two possible interpretations of a given clause (thus1 categorisation indicates a consequence, and thus2 a reason for something), which were occasionally difficult to separate, like in the following sentence “He played only 100 games in the outfield, thus missing more than a third of the season.” After applying this final criterion (“consequence” as opposed to “reason”), I resolved the disagreements, and the final categorisation is the result of my own interpretation. The above example was finally classified as thus2.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Table 1 Frequency of thusly in GloWbe
URL http://journals.openedition.org/erea/docannexe/image/6152/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 76k
URL http://journals.openedition.org/erea/docannexe/image/6152/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 172k
Titre Figure 1 Acceptability rating for I don’t want to commit myself to … and thusly [“therefore”], … (thusly1) (from Lukač and Tieken-Boon van Ostade forthcoming)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/erea/docannexe/image/6152/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 204k
Titre Figure 2 Acceptability rating for He described his daily routine thusly [“as follows”] (thusly2) (from Lukač and Tieken-Boon van Ostade forthcoming)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/erea/docannexe/image/6152/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 204k
Titre Table 3 Differences in acceptability rankings across demographic groups (Kruskal-Wallis test) (based on Lukač and Tieken-Boon van Ostade forthcoming)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/erea/docannexe/image/6152/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 160k
Titre Figure 3 Frequency per million words in the usage of thus in the Google Books (American) corpus
URL http://journals.openedition.org/erea/docannexe/image/6152/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 120k
Titre Figure 4 Frequency per million words in the usage of thusly in the Google Books (American) corpus
URL http://journals.openedition.org/erea/docannexe/image/6152/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 100k
Titre Figure 5 Frequency per million words in the usage of thus per section of the COHA corpus
URL http://journals.openedition.org/erea/docannexe/image/6152/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 196k
Titre Figure 6 Frequency per million words in the usage of thusly per section of the COHA corpus
URL http://journals.openedition.org/erea/docannexe/image/6152/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 172k
Titre Figure 7 Distribution of thus and thusly per section of the COCA corpus (%)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/erea/docannexe/image/6152/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 96k
Titre Table 4 USAS tagset top-level domains (from Rayson et al. 2004:9)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/erea/docannexe/image/6152/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 468k
Titre Table 5 Number of verbs per semantic category (Fisher’s Exact, p < 0.0001)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/erea/docannexe/image/6152/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 122k
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Pour citer cet article

Référence électronique

Morana LUKAČ, « What is the difference between thus and thusly? », E-rea [En ligne], 15.2 | 2018, mis en ligne le 15 juin 2018, consulté le 24 septembre 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/erea/6152 ; DOI : 10.4000/erea.6152

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Auteur

Morana LUKAČ

Leiden University
m.lukac@hum.leidenuniv.nl
Morana Lukač is a doctoral researcher at Leiden University where she worked as lecturer in corpus linguistics, discourse analysis, computer-mediated communication, and sociolinguistics. Morana graduated in English Language & Literature, and Philosophy from the University of Osijek, Croatia (2009). She also completed a joint Master’s program in English Linguistics at the University of Graz, Austria (2012) and worked as lecturer in the Master’s program in Linguistics at Zadar University (2011–12). Her main research interests are prescriptivism and corpus-based approaches to sociolinguistics

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