A politeness-theoretic approach to pragmatico-semantic change

Beeching, K. (2007) A politeness-theoretic approach to pragmatico-semantic change. Journal of Historical Pragmatics, 8 (1). pp. 68-108. ISSN 1566-5852

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/jhp.8.1.05bee


Item Type:Article
Additional Information:The Journal of Historical Pragmatics is a highly respected, refereed, international journal which carries articles which aim to develop theory in this field. This article breaks new ground by positing that certain �qualificatory� semantic primes are recruited to serve face-management needs in a metonymic Meaning1>Meaning2 relationship at what Traugott and Dasher (2002) call the intersubjective, non-truth-conditional, procedural, scope-over-discourse end of the trajectory of pragmatico-semantic change. Terms expressing smallness, approximativeness, demurral/correction, adversativeness/concession and interrogation are applied in an attenuating manner in a number of languages. The article illustrates its thesis by reference to English, French, German, Spanish and other genetically unrelated languages where evidence is available. The paper draws together Brown and Levinson's politeness theory, Sweetser's (1990), Geeraerts' (1997) and Kövecses and Radden's (1998) cognitive and metaphorical/metonymic approaches to etymology, Traugott and Dasher's (2002) Invited Inferencing Theory of Semantic Change, Haspelmath's (1999) notions of irreversibility and Kerswill and Williams' (2002) sociolinguistic concept of �salience�. It is suggested that politeness theory, with its dual conceptualisation to do with conflict-avoidance and social indexing, has strong explanatory power in the two phases of semantic change: innovation and propagation. A new form-function configuration emerges in interaction to manage rapport and is diffused, provided it is given positive social evaluation.
Uncontrolled Keywords:politeness, semantic change, pragmatic particles, metonymy
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education
ID Code:6741
Deposited By: R. Upload account
Deposited On:22 Jan 2010 15:13
Last Modified:14 Aug 2013 10:48

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