By David A. Schmidt
Publication via Schmidt, David A.
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Extra resources for Denotational Semantics: A Methodology for Language Development
This distinction, however, leads to an account of meaning change in reanalysis that is again descriptive rather than explanatory. Somewhat oversimplifying, we end with the following picture. Meaning change in grammaticalization is (sometimes, always) meaning shift by subconscious metaphor. While we know a lot about the licensing conditions for volitional metaphors, we do not know equally much about subconscious metaphor. In particular, we do not know when speakers can use subconscious metaphors.
If such a constellation is given (and appreciated as salient in a given culture), any speaker can at any time decide to coin a metaphor which exploits this ontological similarity. Metaphors need not be licensed by previous discourse. Pragmatic accounts of grammaticalization, in contrast, share the view that grammaticalization requires a preparatory phase, a characteristic type of previous uses of an item, which is a necessary prerequisite for grammaticalization to come under way. An early proponent is Gustaf Stern (Stern 1931: ch.
Under the rigid view of bleaching endorsed in the above postulate, hence, bleaching cannot be the same as metaphorization. This will lead to the consequence that the mysterious bleaching processes can always and only be observed as a semantic change in grammaticalization. This consequence, however, conXicts severely with current views on grammaticalization: there is strong evidence in favour of the assumption that grammaticalization is an epiphenomenon of interactions of phonological, morphological, and syntactic changes that are generally operant in language change.