The role of pragmatic inferencing in causing semantic change

Marcin Grygiel


Semantic change does not have to be viewed as a linear and historical phenomenon. Meaning is dynamic by its very nature and semantic variability can be primarily traced in synchronic pragmatic processes such as inferencing. The aim of the following study is to illustrate the thesis that without interactionally-induced and cognitively-motivated polysemy one cannot account for the fine-grained step-by-step developments that are attested by detailed analyses of texts and contexts over time. The semantic developments presented here seem to show that semantic change is embedded in larger contextual units such as sentence, text or discourse rather than being lexically-confined. From this perspective, the semantic change itself appears as a multi-directional and pragmatically conditioned meaning configuration.


Paraules clau

Diachronic semantics; cognitive linguistics; pragmatic negotiation

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Anuari de Filologia. Estudis de Lingüística
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Deganat de la Facultat de Filologia
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