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Meaning Change in GrammaticalizationAn Enquiry into Semantic Reanalysis$
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Regine Eckardt

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199262601

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199262601.001.0001

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From Intensifier to Focus Particle

From Intensifier to Focus Particle

(p.171) 6 From Intensifier to Focus Particle
Meaning Change in Grammaticalization

Regine Eckardt (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the development of intensifying selbst (self) to the focus particle selbst (even) in German. Starting from a semantic analysis of the intensifier, it surveys German literary data from when this development emerged (c.1550-1600) and traces passages which shift between old and new use of selbst. It is shown that such contexts of use do not support the presuppositions of selbst in its older sense and create a ‘pragmatic overload’ for the hearer. Striving for pragmatic simplicity and plausibility, hearers hypothesize a new possible use for the item, initiating the emergence of the new selbst/even entry.

Keywords:   scalar particle, intensifier, pragmatic overload, reanalysis, focus, presupposition

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