JUST Revisited: Panchronic and Contrastive Insights

Molina, Carla; Romano, Manuela
June 2012
International Journal of English Studies;2012, Vol. 12 Issue 1, p17
Academic Journal
Contrastive studies of cognate pragmatic markers involving modality have become increasingly salient in recent times. In describing semantic and discursive differences in different languages and language families, these studies are paving the way for a better understanding of grammaticalization, pragmaticalization and (inter)subjectification paths. The present paper aims at contributing to the discussion by means of providing a synchronic and diachronic account of the marker JUST that combines semasiological and onomasiological insights. As thoroughly described in previous studies, JUST is a complex polycentric category in which overlapping nuances have been activated over time. In English and in other languages, the diachronic evolution of JUST involves an increasing semantic expansion from scalar to subjectified meanings and an increasing restriction in grammatical flexibility. However, polysemization and the emergence of grammaticalized readings seem to have gone further in English than in other languages. The present study, situated within the emerging field of panchronic cross-linguistic research on discourse markers, aims at ascertaining why.


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