In the good old days, you didn't need to spastically wave a flag to let your conversation partner know that you were about to switch gears into truth-telling mode. But now that helicopter parenting has prevented peer socialization from proceeding as normal, the Millennial generation has settled into an unbreakable habit of exaggerating or lying as their default setting. Your nuclear family, guided by genetic self-interest, will always forgive you for being "the boy who cried wolf," whereas the other kids at school will ostracize you and give you an enduring stigma if that's how you act around them.
Given how recent these developments are (~ past 20 years), it's always worth checking up on their current status. They are not long-lasting features of the English language, but part of a thriving phenomenon, unfortunately.
I just spotted a new member of the family, albeit in a British context (source). Some weird dude in a clown suit is trying to shock the straights in Northampton. How does Twitter user Alex Wynick let the world know that he doesn't get the unsettled response of the townspeople?
Genuinely do not understand the fear of the Northampton Clown. It's just a guy with too much time on his hands.
I haven't heard "genuinely" in America yet, but just give it a little time for our SWPLs to begin imitating their posh patois.
Where does it go from here? I mean, not gonna lie, I feel like sometimes, I honestly don't even know how many more words like that we can use without feeling, actually-kind-of retarded. Right? "I authentically do not understand the fear of the Northampton Clown." Or perhaps, "I artisanally do not understand the fear of the Northampton Clown."
If they can't squeeze in many new members, they are embellishing on the ones already there. These words never had any semantic content for the utterance, but were more of a meta-linguistic social signal to the listener -- "Hey, be prepared, I'm going to switch into realtalk mode." So it's not surprising that they've morphed into a stylized tag at the beginning of the sentence, such as "I honestly I _____." They give a quick signal of realtalk mode, then they get to the meaning they're trying to get across.
Here are a couple examples of "I honestly I..." from separate articles found through a search of the NYT:
I honestly I don't know when military force is justified, I think the people in the military are treated very wrong...
I honestly I don't care what the government does. They are all grown adults and they are perfectly capable of making decisions.
Searching google for "I literally I..." gives a bunch of examples. E.g.:
I literally i was crying like stupid when i saw this !
Sorry Tamsin, I literally I thought I was the only admin, and the owner said I could share my page as many times a I like because it got hacked :(
Googling "I seriously I..." gives:
Okay, I seriously I have no idea what I am doing at the moment, basically, I'm just following the example on what's given for the exercise.
Alright, I seriously I don't understand these Thieves Guild jobs ...
These sound ungrammatical if you hear the "I honestly" thing as part of the meaning-expressing words of the utterance. "Honestly" etc. are adverbs, and you've already got a subject "I," so you expect to hear just a verb and whatever else afterward (the predicate). It's jarring to hear Subject Adverb Full-Sentence. But if you understand that "I honestly" is just a stylized meta-linguistic tag, it goes through the brain sounding acceptable.
I (honestly) wonder if another reason behind all of these meta-linguistic signals of the speaker's credibility, is the decline in face-to-face interactions among young people in particular. Or their stunted "emotional intelligence" even when they do interact in person. You'd think they could communicate the meta-linguistic thing through facial expression or gesture, and leave the meaning to the mouth.
Like, it's not hard to twist your face into a "joking around" or "to be taken seriously" expression. But if you get so little practice sending and interpreting subtle expressional signals like that, you might as well use speech.
Also, kids who get so little practice with facial expression and gestural modes of communication wind up over-doing it on those rare occasions where they do try to make a different face from "total apathy and lack of involvement." Hence the ubiquitous cancer of kabuki faces, from mass entertainment to portrayals of children in pop culture. Only stunted children with no experience make faces of such unrefined caricature.
Related: a post on the growth in slang words that show how suspicious you find everyone, everything, and every place.