"Kissine offers a new theory of speech acts which is philosophically sophisticated and builds on work in cognitive science, formal semantics, and linguistic typology. This highly readable, brilliant essay is a major contribution to the field."
This new and important study of semantic change examines how new meanings
arise through language use, especially the various ways in which speakers
and writers experiment with uses of words and constructions in the flow of
strategic interaction with addressees. In the last few decades there has
been growing interest in exploring systemicities in semantic change from a
number of perspectives including theories of metaphor, pragmatic
inferencing, and grammaticalization. Like earlier studies, these have for
the most part been based on data taken out of context. This book is the
first detailed examination of semantic change from the perspective of
historical pragmatics and discourse analysis. Drawing on extensive corpus
data from over a thousand years of English and Japanese textual history,
Traugott and Dasher show that most changes in meaning originate in and are
motivated by the associative flow of speech and conceptual metonymy.