Article published in:Opening Windows on Texts and Discourses of the Past
Edited by Janne Skaffari, Matti Peikola, Ruth Carroll, Risto Hiltunen and Brita Wårvik
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 134] 2005
► pp. 279–299
Processes underlying the development of pragmatic markers
The case of (I) say
English(I) sayexhibits a variety of uses as a conjunction (meaning ‘suppose’), an adverb (meaning ‘about’ or ‘for example’), and a pragmatic marker (preceding questions, expressing surprise, evoking the hearer's attention, clarifying, or emphasising). Using the historical development of these forms as a test case of grammaticalisation, pragmaticalisation, lexicalisation, or idiomaticisation, this paper argues that despite being seen as ‘mirror images’, grammaticalisation and lexicalisation may be complementary processes, involving an increase in semantic opacity and the erasure of phrasal or morphological boundaries. However, the development of(I) sayis best understood as grammaticalisation as it involves decategorialisation from major to minor word class, the shift from referential to non-referential meaning, and the coding of invited inferences, all of which are typical of grammaticalisation.
Published online: 24 March 2005
Cited by other publications
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