Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1876-1933
  • E-ISSN: 1876-1941
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In this paper I focus on MGr lίγo ‘(a) little’ in non-quantifying constructions codifying affect and argue that it has grammaticalized from a quantifier to an (inter)subjective metalinguistic hedging device: i.e., a positive politeness marker in the hedged directive construction and a marker of attitude to one’s own utterance in the hedged statement construction. Motivation for this development is provided by MGr interactional ethos and the importance attached to the friendly, informal “politeness of involvement”, a factor discussed in the context of universal tendencies in the semantics of diminutives and affective language. I argue that non-quantifying lίγo is a case of semantic change motivated by sociopragmatic considerations which are anchored to specific constructions.


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