Slavische Philologie - Slavistik
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Pragmaticalization is generally seen in the linguistic literature as the process of language change concerning the discursive level of language and resulting in the development of pragmatic functions by linguistic units which once carried lexical or grammatical meaning.

No consensus has coalesced around the status and the (cognitive) mechanisms of pragmaticalization (cf. Erman/Kotsinas 1993, Wischer 2000, Günthner/Mutz 2004, Auer/Günthner 2005, Mroczynski 2012: 85- 124, Heine 2013, Degand/Evers-Vermeul 2015). In general, it concerns linguistic units (words and expressions or simplicials and established constructions or set phrases), that develop towards a pragmeme, i.e. units whose meaning unfolds primarily through their use in situative contexts of communication. The pragmaticalized units encode so-called procedural information (Nicolle 2011: 406f.). Their pragmatic functions, thereby, encompass the speaker’s expression of his/her various emotive, volitional, and cognitive attitudes; they are also linked, e.g., to meta-commented speech, the steering of discourse, a text structuring function (which means the expansion of their scope beyond the sentence boundaries), and the marking of politeness.

At this conference, the process of pragmaticalization is to be seen in relationship to the “classical” concept of grammaticalization (cf. Lehmann 1995 [1982]), which describes the movement of a lexical unit towards the grammatical core area of language, i.e. the emergence of grammemes (cf. the so-called “cline of grammaticality”: “content item > grammatical word > clitic > inflectional affix”, Hopper/Traugott 2003: 7; cf. Lehmann 2004: 168-169).

What happens, however, in connection with the phenomenon of pragmaticalization? Can pragmaticalization be seen as a discrete process of language change, or should it, rather, be placed at the “margins” of grammaticalization? Traugott (1982, 1995, 2010, et al.) understands the development of units used to structure verbal communication as grammaticalization and speaks of “subjectivation” or “intersubjectivation” within grammaticalization. Might pragmaticalization, therefore, also be definable as a “grammaticalization of discursive functions” (cf. Diewald 2011) within the discursive province of a more broadly construed conception of grammar (cf. Heine et al. 2013, cf. also ‘grammaticalization as reduction’ vs. ‘grammaticalization as expansion’, Traugott/Trousdale 2013: 32, 105-112)? Or can pragmaticalization perhaps be elucidated within a framework of “de-”grammaticalization, e.g. the movement of a unit on the continuum of the so-called linear-syntagmatic autonomy of linguistic signs (cf. Plungjan 42012: 22) from a pole of weakly autonomous forms up to a (proto)typical pragmeme equipped with its own illocutionary force, or perhaps even being able to constitute an indirect speech act?

Contributions on Slavic languages are particularly desired, in addition to pragmaticalization/ grammaticalization research more generally.

The following issues could be discussed at the conference:

  • pragmaticalization and grammaticalization – two sides of the same coin?
  • parameters, mechanisms, and factors of pragmaticalization
  • pragmaticalization and lexicalization
  • the role of implicature and presupposition in pragmaticalization
  • pragmaticalization and prosody
  • pragmaticalization and the development of discourse markers, politeness markers, routine formulae, forms of address, interjections, particles (diachronic as well as synchronic)
  • pragmaticalization and language contact
  • pragmaticalization and gender
  • pragmaticalization and construction grammar
  • pragmaticalization and ‘patterns’ in linguistic usage
  • digitalization of pragmaticalized units

Additional themes on pragmaticalization are also welcome.

Talks: 20 minutes, followed by a 10-minute discussion
Conference languages:
German, Russian, English

Those interested should submit an abstract (PDF or Word format) of about 300 words by 3 August 2017 to the following address:
 pragmaticalization@slavistik.uni-muenchen.de

Notification of acceptance: by mid-August 2017

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