Diachronic Pragmatics: Seven Case Studies in English Illocutionary Development

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John Benjamins Publishing, Jan 1, 1999 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 191 pages
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The purpose of Diachronic Pragmatics is to exemplify historical pragmatics in its twofold sense of constituting both a subject matter and a methodology. This book demonstrates how diachronic pragmatics, with its complementary diachronic function-to-form mapping and diachronic form-to-function mapping, can be used to trace pragmatic developments within the English language. Through a set of case studies it explores the evolution of such speech acts as promises, curses, blessings, and greetings and such speech events as flyting and sounding. Collectively these illocutionary biographies manifest the workings of several important pragmatic processes and trends: increased epistemicity, subjectification, and discursization (a special kind of pragmaticalization). It also establishes the centrality of cultural traditions in diachronic reconstruction, examining various de-institutionalizations of extra-linguistic context and their affect on speech act performance. Taken together, the case studies presented in Diachronic Pragmatics highlight the complex interactions of formal, semantic, and pragmatic processes over time. Illustrating the possibilities of historical pragmatic pursuit, this book stands as an invitation to further research in a new and important discipline.
 

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Contents

A Methodological Introduction
1
Chapter 2 Flyting and Sounding the Agonistic Insult
15
Chapter 3 Rationalist Prescriptions for Shall and Will
41
Chapter 4 The Expanding Discourse of the English Promise
57
Chapter 5 Subjectification in the Common Curse
73
The Pragmatic Reanalysis of the Close
95
Discursization in the Polite Bless You
119
Chapter 8 ExtraLinguistic Contexts for Illocutionary Change
139
Notes
155
References
165
Index
183
PRAGMATICS AND BEYOND NEW SERIES
193
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