A parallel corpus approach to investigating semantic change

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Traugott and Dasher (2002) suggest that the frequency of certain contextual interpretations of an item can end up by eclipsing its original sense. Pragmatic markers, lying at the extreme right of the spectrum of semantic change where the core meaning is almost entirely bleached, are often multifunctional, serving both turn-taking and modal functions or, as in the case of quand même, the focus of this study, both an adversative and a relational function. This chapter explores the potential of parallel corpora as a means of demonstrating that semantic change has indeed occurred. If English translators systematically select a particular functional equivalent, this may prove to be a sound test for semantic change.


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