Based on a rich set of historical data, this book traces the development of pragmatic markers in English, from hwæt in Old English and whilom in Middle English to whatever and I'm just saying in present-day English. Laurel J. Brinton carefully maps the syntactic origins and development of these forms, and critically examines postulated unilineal pathways, such as from adverb to conjunction to discourse marker, or from main clause to parenthetical. The book sets case studies within a larger examination of the development of pragmatic markers as instances of grammaticalization or pragmaticalization. The characteristics of pragmatic markers - as primarily oral, syntactically optional, sentence-external, grammatically indeterminate elements - are revised in the context of scholarship on pragmatic markers over the last thirty or more years.
Table of Contents
1. Pragmatic markers: synchronic and diachronic; Part I. From Lexical Item to Pragmatic Marker: 2. Old English hwæt; 3. Middle English whilom; 4. Modern English only and if only; Part II. From Clausal Construction to Pragmatic Marker: 5. Epistemic parentheticals; 6. I / you admit and admittedly; 7. Forms of say: that said and I'm just saying; 8. Two politeness comment clauses: if I may say so and for what it's worth; 9. What is more and whatever; 10. Concluding remarks: pathways of change; Appendix: list of corpora and text collections; References; Index.