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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

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Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Academic Paper

Title: Politeness-induced semantic change: The case of quand même
Author: Kate Beeching
Institution: University of the West of England
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: French
Abstract: This article contributes to a growing body of theory that posits language-external, social factors as a primary motor in diachronic change. Politeness theory and the use of variationist approaches enable us to posit, and test, the hypothesis of a type of pragmaticalization, which I call Politeness-Induced Semantic Change (PISC). Historical data on quand même are presented that give tentative credence to such a model. Moeschler and de Spengler's (1981) and Waltereit's (2001) speech-act theoretic analyses of quand même are reinterpreted within the framework of politeness theory and sociopragmatics. The ensuing corpus investigation of the grammaticalization and pragmatico-semantic evolution of quand même from 1500–2000 highlights the fact that not only the innovation but also the propagation of a new form–function configuration depend on social factors; politeness theory may have explanatory power in capturing the ever-changing social patterning of linguistic features and the conditions that favor the spread of innovation.


This article appears IN Language Variation and Change Vol. 17, Issue 2.

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