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Speaking American: A History of English in the United States

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Language, Literacy, and Technology

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Academic Paper


Title: Quantitative Measures of Subjectification: A variationist study of Spanish salir(se)
Author: Roger Blench
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.rogerblench.info/RBOP.htm
Institution: (personal interest - not currently working at a university)
Author: Rena Torres Cacoullos
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Pennsylvania
Linguistic Field: Cognitive Science; Historical Linguistics; Language Documentation; Morphology; Pragmatics; Semantics; Text/Corpus Linguistics
Subject Language: Spanish
Abstract: By confronting variable use, the variationist method can reveal patterns of subjectification of grammatical morphemes. Applying this method to the analysis of salir(se) ‘go out’ variation in Mexican Spanish oral data, we conclude that subjectification is manifested structurally in the tendency for middle-marked salirse to co-occur with first-person singular or referents close to the speaker, positive polarity and the past tense. Further comparative dialectal and diachronic data indicate the origins of the se-marked form in physical spatial deviation. Usage of the form then extends to situations that denote deviation from social norms. We thus propose that the locus of subjectification of this counter-expectation marker is an increasingly speaker-based construal of expectation. This semantic change appears to proceed via absorption of contextual meaning in the frequently occurring + de ‘from’ construction.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Venue: Cognitive Linguistics
Publication Info: 16:4.607-634


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