Chapter in:Pragmatic Markers and Peripheries
Edited by Daniël Van Olmen and Jolanta Šinkūnienė
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 325] 2021
The diachronic origin of English I mean and German ich meine
The pragmatic markers ich meine in German and I mean in English are similar, though not equivalent, in the main aspects of their meaning and function. Both have also been widely studied, yet research on German ich meine has focused on modern data and functions. From a diachronic perspective, we investigate whether the matrix clause function, as claimed in the literature for spoken modern German, is a likely origin of the pragmatic marker or whether, as in English, a derivation from I mean followed by a phrasal complement seems more likely. Furthermore, we assess how well the origins of the pragmatic functions of I mean can be sufficiently described as constructionalization rather than grammaticalization and what role the left periphery plays in this constructionalization process.
Keywords: diachronic linguistics, German, English, Construction Grammar