The development of the modal and discourse marker uses of (there/it is/I have) no doubt
In this paper, we reconstruct the emergence of the modal and discourse marker uses of adverbial and clausal expressions with no doubt. Their history contrasts in a number of surprising ways with typical grammaticalization hypotheses. Existential expressions with no doubt emerged directly with grammatical modal meaning and developed lexicalized idiomatic uses later on. We account for this in terms of Boye and Harder’s discourse approach to grammaticalization and lexicalization, according to which the former involves coded discourse secondariness whereas the latter expresses a primary point of the discourse. Like adverbial no doubt, I have/make no doubt acquired uses not only as a modal but also as a discourse marker. Invoking the principles of Kaltenböck, Heine and Kuteva’s Thetical Grammar, we explain this development in terms of the positional and scopal flexibility, and the discourse functionality of these expressions.
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