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Pragmatic and cognitive aspects of the research into grammaticalization

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Author(s): Nagy C., Katalin

Journal: Argumentum
ISSN 1787-3606

Volume: 5;
Start page: 110;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: grammaticalization | cognitive linguistics | historical pragmatics | semantic change

ABSTRACT
Issues concerning data, evidence, methods and reasoning in linguistic studies are central topics of contemporary linguistics. The present paper aims to be a contribution to this line of inquiry, discussing the relationship between grammaticalization research and cognitive linguistics and providing a summary of methods and data types used in pragmatically and cognitively oriented grammaticalization studies. The hardly accessible nature of levels of meaning which should be examined from such perspectives requires a more elaborated methodology and more data sources. The paper pays special attention to the following issues: the cognitive mechanisms of grammaticalization, with special regard to the role of frequency, the gradual vs. instantaneous nature of semantic change, the priority of semantic vs. formal changes in grammaticalization, and finally, the functioning of metaphor and metonymy/pragmatic inference in grammaticalization. This latter topic is examined through a concrete grammaticalization process: the evolution of a future tense marker from a motion verb. The paper concludes that the unreliability of the results should be diminished by raising the level of metalinguistic awareness and by combining different methods and data sources in this linguistic field.

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