Procatalepsis and the etymology of hedging and boosting particles
Beeching, K. (2009) Procatalepsis and the etymology of hedging and boosting particles. In: Hansen, M.-B. M. and Visconti, J., eds. (2009) Current Trends in Diachronic Semantics and Pragmatics. Bingley: Emerald, pp. 81-106. ISBN 9781849506779
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This chapter breaks new ground by highlighting the role of concession in semantic change, drawing examples cross-linguistically from English, French and German. It contributes to theories of semantic change which support cognitive and social-interactional motivations. The paper argues that the metonymic contiguity of terms like though with contexts relating to the negotiation of meaning and the “Cardinal Concessive Frame” (X – statement, X’ – concession, Y – potential refutation) (Couper-Kuhlen and Thompson, 2000) has led them to be used in situations where X and X’ are unexpressed. This procataleptic tendency affects similar adversative and concessive conjunctions and adverbs in different languages; while the etymologies, polysemies and position in the clause of these terms differ, the fundamental cognitive reflex is similar across languages, suggesting the underlying motivation for the recruitment of such usages is universal, arising from social-interactional exigencies related to questions of face.
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