Context in constructions

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This paper illustrates the importance of context for grammar by examining discourse data of the nonsubject honorific construction <i>o</i> &#8211; Verb (stem) &#8211; <i>suru</i>. &#160; Building upon previous studies that argued that non-subject honorifics are subject to a pragmatic condition of benefit transfer between the subject and nonsubject referents, I argue that the targeted referents of nonsubject honorification are reorganized to the two participants of the discourse: the speaker and the addressee.&#160; The variations in the o-Verb (stem) &#8211; <i>suru</i> form are explained from the constructional and frame semantics perspectives as a process of cognitive and intersubjective (e.g., Traugott and Dasher 2002) reorganization of grammatical constructions motivated by contextual conditions of use and the speaker&#8217;s intention with respect to the addressee.


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