The evolution of three pragmatic markers
As it were, so to speak/say and if you like
The article traces the development of three pragmatic markers with a hedging function, as it were, so to speak and if you like, back to their origins in the fourteenth century, the mid-seventeenth century and the early nineteenth century, respectively. They all probably started out as full clauses, as adverbial clauses (as it were, if you like) or as complement clause (so to speak), but underwent different degrees of restructuring and shortening. While as it were has lost its whole complement section and has fossilised an older conjunction use, if you like just froze in a fairly usual elliptical form and so to speak may not have changed its form at all. In the case of if you like and so to speak the influence of parallel parenthetical forms seems to have been important. The changes in question are seen as instances of pragmaticalisation and partly also lexicalisation, although they share many features with grammaticalisation.
Keywords: pragmaticalisation, hedge, pragmatic marker, lexicalisation
Published online: 17 May 2013
Cited by 5 other publications
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