Periphery – Diachronic and Cross-Linguistic Approaches
  • ISSN 1566-5852
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9854
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This paper describes the development of two different DMs that emerged from the interrogative pronoun (literally ‘what’). Both DMs acquired discursive functions as their source structures were used rhetorically (i.e., not to solicit an answer but to elicit attention). The DM shifted from its original argument position to non-argument positions including LP, and then later to RP. On the other hand, the DM (literally, ‘if (you) ask (me) what (it) is’), which originated from a subordinate clause, now invariably occurs at LP as a DM. From analyses with respect to (inter)subjectification, and exchange and action structures, I argue that even though peripheries are associated with (inter)subjectivity, the hypothesized correlation between LP versus RP and subjectivity versus intersubjectivity (Beeching and Detges 2014a) is not supported. Nor is the hypothesis supported that subjectified linguistic elements will shift their positions leftward in OV languages (Traugott 2010).


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