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Data and Argumentation in Historical Pragmatics

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Data and Argumentation in Historical Pragmatics has two interrelated aims, one empirical and one theoretical. Its object-scientific aim is to provide a comprehensive analysis of the beginnings of a semantic change process in the grammaticalization of the medieval Catalan “anar ‘go’ + infinitive” construction, investigating it from a historical pragmatic perspective. Catalan is unique among Romance languages in that a purposive construction involving this motion verb achieves a perfective past meaning. This evolution is in contrast with the universal pathway of verbs meaning ‘go’ to grammaticalize into future markers in similar constructions, detected in several languages of the world. Although this volume discusses a micro-level study on a grammaticalization process which, according to the previous literature, does not fit any universal tendency hitherto revealed, it will hopefully also provide new information about the macro-level process of semantic change of motion verbs in general.

The theoretical aim of the volume is to examine some methodological questions in historical pragmatics and contribute in this way to recent metalinguistic discussions on data, methods and argumentation in linguistics. Methodological issues have not only been present in historical pragmatics since the beginnings - their resolution is seen as a crucial factor which will determine the future of this linguistic sub-discipline.

Published: Sep 1, 2019