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The historical path of the constructions with now: stages of evolution in contexts

Grant number: 17/01933-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2017
Effective date (End): January 31, 2018
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics - Linguistic Theory and Analysis
Principal Investigator:Sanderléia Roberta Longhin
Grantee:Luísa Ferrari
Supervisor: Scott A. Schwenter
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências, Letras e Ciências Exatas (IBILCE). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de São José do Rio Preto. São José do Rio Preto , SP, Brazil
Research place: Ohio State University, Columbus, United States  
Associated to the scholarship:15/21358-6 - The role of contexts in the changes of grammaticalization and subjetification: a diachronic study of the constructions with agora and now, BP.MS


In this project, we focus on morphosyntactic and semantic-pragmatic changes undergone by the constructions with "now" (Eng.). Originally, "now" operates in the expression of time, establishing deictic relationships between propositions and their speaking time (SCHIFFRIN, 1987, p. 228). In contemporary English, the temporal uses of "now" coexist with non temporal uses, which are distributed in two different functions. In one of them, "now" exhibits conjunctional functioning and indicates adversative relations between utterances. In the other function, the item functions as a discourse marker (TRAUGOTT, 1995), playing the role of a metatextual resource used by speakers/writers to indicate a textual reorientation.From tendencies in change observed in different languages, it is possible to predict derivational relations between the temporal uses of "now" and its non-temporal uses. Kortmann (1997) identifies the temporal domain as a productive source for the development of contrastive meanings (among others), whereas Traugott (1995) identifies the tendency of meanings expressed by discourse markers to emerge from adverbial meanings. Both the authors find empirical evidence of these historical relations. This way, the greater objective of this project is, by means of a diachronic investigation, to apprehend the paths of change that give rise to the uses of "now" as a conjunction and as a discourse marker, in order to confirm the historical derivation of these uses from the adverbial source.Considering that new meanings and new functions arise from specific contextual clusters (HEINE, 2002), we assume the contexts in which the new uses of "now" develop as the main path to apprehend the changes. In this sense, in the light of Heine (2002), we adopt the correlation between stages of change and contexts, assigning special importance to the contexts in which there is the polysemy between the source and the target meaning.Taking into account the relevance of contexts to a deeper comprehension of the gradual development of the new uses (HEINE, 2002), and the fact that, in studies already developed on the constructions with "now", the contextual stages of changes were not investigated yet, the established objectives are linked to the greater purpose of, from the apprehension of the trajectories via contexts, raising empirical evidence of the role of the contextual domain to the reanalysis of form and meaning which gives rise to the new uses of "now".To achieve the objectives, we will conduct the analysis in the light of methodological proposals that enable us to apprehend the changes through their contexts of development. The main model on which we base to analyse the contexts is that proposed in Heine (2002), which makes possible to link stages of change to contextual types, and, thus, to elucidate the changes from a gradual perspective.Both in the uses in which "now" functions as a conjunction and in those in which it plays the role of a discourse marker, the meanings are more grammatical in relation to the first uses, since they express relations that are internal to language (they are not based on the external communicative situation), and are also more subjective, considering that, in establishing adversative relations and indicating textual reorientation, they are based on speakers/writers' subjective beliefs and attitudes (TRAUGOTT, 2010; TRAUGOTT; DASHER, 2004). This way, we attach the framework on grammaticalization to the framework on subjectification (HEINE et al., 1991; HOPPER; TRAUGOTT, 2003; TRAUGOTT, DASHER, 2004; DAVIDSE et al., 2010), approximating mainly to approaches to change that are oriented to the cognitive and communicative processes that operate in its development (TRAUGOTT; DASHER, 2004).Our data come from spoken and written texts, typical of different genres, produced between the 16th ant 21st centuries. (AU)

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