Constructing the meanings of personal pronouns

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The meanings of personal pronouns are described using basic notions of Cognitive Linguistics. Among these notions are subjective vs. objective construal, profiling, grounding, intersubjectivity, paths of mental access, and conceptual blending. Pronouns are situated with respect to other strategies of nominal grounding. It is explained how personal pronouns can be used impersonally, and the meaning of impersonal<i>it </i>is characterized. Special attention is devoted to <i>I </i>and <i>you</i>. Their abstracted conceptual meanings invoke very basic cognitive models pertaining to the ground, a speech event, and subject vs. object of conception. With these models as inputs, the pronouns’ meanings are constructed through successive levels of blending. The crucial factor is intersubjectivity.


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