Note: This is the paperback edition of a previously announced title.
This book explores the semantic and pragmatic mechanisms underlying
grammaticalization. Regine Eckardt argues that language change frequently
involves a structural reorganization at the phonological, morphological, and
syntactic levels. Speakers not only master the structural aspect of such
reanalyses, they also-as the author argues-keep a detailed mental record of
what has happened to meaning. The author develops semantic reanalysis as the
semantic correlate and tracks its effects in meaning change. Several case
studies offer new insights in the architecture of conceptual thinking that
is part of the human language faculty.
Professor Eckardt develops her approach in terms of formal semantic theory.
She shows how neatly tailored analyses in truth-conditional compositional
semantics can elucidate the structural mechanisms of meaning change. Her
exposition is advanced in the context of several in-depth case studies
containing data new to historical linguistics.