From Totally Dark to Totally Old. The Formal Semantics of Subjectification.

  • Andrea Beltrama

Abstract

Subjectification is the process whereby meanings become increasingly based in the speakers’ attitudes towards a proposition (Traugott 1989). While commonly invoked, such process has rarely been modeled in formal terms. As a consequence, it is often hard to see (i) what component of an expression undergoes change, and (ii) what semantic core persists through the shift. I present the intensifier totally as a case study to shed light on these issues, modeling the shift as a transition along domains with analogous scale-structure. More specifically, I analyze the trajectory as a shift from degree to speech act modification, formally modeling the transition as a change in the nature of the targeted scale (‘lexical degrees’ → ‘speaker’s commitment’). The analysis recasts subjectification as a transition between different sources of scalarity, positing effects of slack-regulation as a natural bridge between these two stages.
How to Cite
Beltrama, A. (1). From Totally Dark to Totally Old. The Formal Semantics of Subjectification. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 19, 125-142. Retrieved from https://ojs.ub.uni-konstanz.de/sub/index.php/sub/article/view/225