Regularity in Semantic Change

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Dec 20, 2001 - Language Arts & Disciplines
0 Reviews
This important study of semantic change examines how new meanings arise through language use, especially the various ways in which speakers and writers experiment with uses of words and constructions in the flow of strategic interaction with addressees. There has been growing interest in exploring systemicities in semantic change from a number of perspectives including theories of metaphor, pragmatic inferencing, and grammaticalization. Like earlier studies, these have for the most part been based on data taken out of context. This book is a detailed examination of semantic change from the perspective of historical pragmatics and discourse analysis. Drawing on extensive corpus data from over a thousand years of English and Japanese textual history, Traugott and Dasher show that most changes in meaning originate in and are motivated by the associative flow of speech and conceptual metonymy.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


1 The framework
2 Prior and current work on semantic change
3 The development of modal verbs
4 The development of adverbials with discourse marker function
5 The development of performative verbs and constructions
6 The development of social deictics
7 Conclusion

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2001)

Elizabeth Closs Traugott is Professor of Linguistics and English at Stanford University. Her previous books include A History of English Syntax (1972), Linguistics for Students of Literature (with Mary L. Pratt, 1980) and Grammaticalization (with Paul J. Hopper, Cambridge, 1993).

Richard B. Dasher is Director of the US-Japan Technology Center, Executive Director of the Center for Integrated Systems and Consulting Associate Professor at the School of Engineering, Stanford University. His previous publications include historical work on Japanese honorifics in Papers in Linguistics, other research in Papers from the 7th International Conference on Historical Linguistics (ICHL), and various scholarly journals.