The Evolution of Pragmatic Markers
  • ISSN 1566-5852
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9854
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In this paper the Italian scalar particles perfino and addirittura are investigated in a diachronic perspective, from their origins in spatial and temporal meanings to the scalar value they have in Present Day Italian. The data documenting the shift are discussed in Section 2, where it is argued that the lexical semantics of the particles plays a crucial role in constraining the contexts in which they appear, and hence their change. Section 3 defines the evolution of Italian scalar particles as an instance of subjectification, i.e. as an increased degree of encoding of the Speaker’s attitude, and considers the syntactic evolution of both perfino and addirittura as the structural reflection of the subjectification process that they undergo at the semantic level. Section 4 addresses the question of whether the development of perfino and addirittura is a case of grammaticalisation, reconsidering the definition of both the concept of grammaticalisation and its relationship to subjectification. Section 5 concludes and points out at some directions of further research work.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): grammaticalization; scalarity; semantic change; subjectification
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