Chapter published in:Historical Linguistics 2017: Selected papers from the 23rd International Conference on Historical Linguistics, San Antonio, Texas, 31 July – 4 August 2017
Edited by Bridget Drinka
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 350] 2020
► pp. 318–339
Atomizing linguistic change
A radical view
This paper discusses the pragmatic processes of semiosis involved in real speaker-hearer interaction in the process of an initial innovative form-function construal. This atomistic view of the locus of linguistic change suggests that more prominence needs to be given to motivations which are present at the point of origin. Discussing two unrelated instances from the history of English, the paper argues that the initial motivation can become non-transparent in later stages of the process. Hypotheses based on structural comparisons may therefore be quite different from hypotheses of motivations effective at the point of origin.
Keywords: Atomistic, Micro-history of change, Inter-subjectivity, Morphosyntactic change, Onset context, Coercion, Real-time pragmatics, Construction grammar, Emergent, Invisible hand, Comprehensible input, Semiosis, Do-support, Extravagant progressive
Published online: 09 July 2020
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