1.1 Research Background
Pragmatic markers commonly exist in different languages which help uscommunicate effectively in our daily life.Many famous scholars have studiedpragmatic markers both in China and abroad.Since the 1960s,the evolution oflanguage has gradually become a research topic in many disciplines,includingpragmatics(Wen,2021).After the 1990s,the study of pragmatic markers wasintroduced into historical linguistics and became an important topic in this field(Wu,2005),but the core issues of pragmatic markers such as their nature and evolutionmechanisms have been controversial.The academic community has not reached aconsensus on whether the formation of pragmatic markers belongs to lexicalization,grammaticalization,or pragmaticalization,and it is unable to provide a unifiedexplanation for the development of language.Goldberg(2013:30)thinks that“theconstructionist approach is the fastest growing linguistic and interdisciplinary approachto language”.A growing number of researchers have used constructions as researchobjects in their diachronic change research(e.g.,Traugott,2008a,2008b,2008c;Bybee,2010)or utilized construction grammar as their theoretical groundings(e.g.,Fillmoreet al.,1988;Goldberg,1995,2006;Croft,2001;Sag et al.,2003).Nevertheless,construction grammar mainly concerns syntactic and semantic issues,with littleattention to the pragmatic aspects of constructions,and pragmatics touches little onissues of constructions as well.Therefore,combing the studies of constructions withpragmatic studies is vital,which is conducive to examining both the form and meaningof constructions and the pragmatic aspects of constructions.This can also be verified by the fact that Wen(2022)established a new discipline“construction pragmatics”,anew interdisciplinary study combining construction grammar with pragmatics,whichfocuses on examining the pragmatic issues of constructions from the perspective ofpragmatics.
1.2 Research Objectives
At present,the diachronic development of the English speech verb pragmaticmarker(hereinafter referred to as SVPM)construction“ADV.+V.-ing”(e.g.,franklyspeaking,simply saying,hard telling)has not received much attention,and there is notmuch relevant discussion from the perspective of construction grammar.The EnglishSVPM construction“ADV.+V.-ing”is composed of an adverb plus the presentparticiple form of a speech verb,“used to show that what you are saying is true in ageneral,strict,relative,broad,etc.way”(Hornby,2009:1996),for example:
(1)a.You got it.They meet online.The same way you met your wife-although,strictly speaking,you can’t say they meet in the same place that you met yourwife.(2018,FIC)
b.The glacier was 300 feet thick and 300 acres large,roughly speaking,and wewent out there with ropes and ice axes like a sherpa expedition heading forEverest,and risked our lives to peek into the crevasse,which may be gone now.(2010,MAG)
Therefore,to solve the above problems,based on the framework of diachronicconstruction grammar,this study explores the synchronic features and diachronicdevelopment of the English SVPM construction“ADV.+V.-ing”from the perspectiveof constructional network and with the help of the COCA,COHA and EEBO corpus.By combining synchronic with diachronic analysis,descriptive with explanatoryadequacy,and introspection with corpus-based approach,this thesis mainly focuses onthe post-constructionalization constructional changes of the English SVPMconstruction“ADV.+V.-ing”,aiming to study the pragmatic issues of construction andenrich the study of pragmatics.
Chapter TwoLiterature Review
2.1 Previous Studies on the Synchronic Development of PragmaticMarkers
The current research concentrates on the diachronic development of the SVPMconstruction“ADV.+V.-ing”,therefore an overview of pragmatic markers will bepresented first,including definitions,classifications,and functions.
2.1.1 Definitions of Pragmatic Markers
Expressions like well,I say,I think,and,so,frankly,are commonly used inEnglish to convey pragmatic meanings or functions.Scholars have used various termsto describe these expressions,including“pragmatic marker”(Fraser,1996;Hansen,2006),“discourse marker”(Schiffrin,1987;Fraser,1990,1996,1999),“discourseconnectives”(Blakemore,1987,1992,2002),and“cue phrases”(Knott,2000;Sanders&Noordman,2000).Other less frequent terms include“pragmatic particle”,“discourse particle”,“discourse signaling devices”,“indicating devices”,“pragmaticconnectives”,“pragmatic expressions”,“conjuncts”,“sentence connectives”orotherwise.Unlike grammatical categories(such as verbs,nouns,adverbs,etc.),pragmatic markers are identified not on grammatical but on functional grounds.Inother words,various grammatical entities can be used as pragmatic markers.The classof markers is not grounded on fixed morphological and syntactical features but on theircontextual use in a certain text.Considering the multifunctionality of“ADV.+V.-ing”as pragmatic markers,the author also uses“pragmatic markers”in this thesis whichcan better capture the range of functions filled by“ADV.+V.-ing”.
2.2 Previous Studies on the Diachronic Development of PragmaticMarkers
Currently,scholars study the development of pragmatic markers from severaldifferent perspectives including grammaticalization,pragmaticalization,lexicalization,cooptation,and diachronic construction grammar.Many studies among them,oftenbased on corpus data,have provided valuable insights into the diachronic developmentof pragmatic markers.In the following part of this chapter,the author will brieflyreview the diachronic development research of pragmatic markers from these differentperspectives.
2.2.1 Grammaticalization Approach to Pragmatic Markers
The mainstream theory studying the evolution of pragmatic markers isgrammaticalization.Grammaticalization by Hopper and Traugott(2003)is a generalintroduction to grammaticalization and synthesizes works from several areas oflinguistics,including historical linguistics,discourse analysis,and pragmatics.Earlierrelevant studies abroad include Traugott(1982)on well and right,Finell(1989)on well,Thompson and Mulac(1991)on I think and I guess,Romaine and Lange(1991)on like,Traugott(1995)on let’s and let alone,López-Couso and Méndez-Naya(2014)onlike-parentheticals,etc.In a monograph of pragmatic markers,Brinton(1996)exploresthe diachronic development of several pragmatic markers in earlier stages of Englishby a broadly defined process of grammaticalization and examines the evolution of theirfunctions over time.Koops and Lohmann(2015)find that in the case of Englishtwo-part pragmatic marker sequences like oh well,you know,I mean,etc.,functionalchanges and syntactic decategorization occur in their grammaticalization.Enghels andTanghe(2019)examine the recent grammaticalization process of the Spanishpragmatic marker nada and conclude that it follows paths of reanalysis andrecategorization.
Chapter Three Theoretical Foundations................................15
3.1 Constructions and Basic Tenets...............................15
3.2 Diachronic Construction Grammar.........................17
3.3 Constructional Network......................................19
Chapter Four Research Methodology....................................22
4.1 Research Questions........................................22
4.2 Data Analysis Approaches............................23
4.3 Data Source......................................24
Chapter Five Usage of the SVPM Construction“ADV.+V.-ing”in Present-dayEnglish.....................................28
5.1 Constructionhood of“ADV.+V.-ing”........................................28
5.3 Syntactic Distribution....................................30
Chapter SixDiachronic Development of the SVPM Construction“ADV.+V.-ing”
6.1 Development of“ADV.+speaking”
6.1.1 Change of Frequency
The change of frequency of the schematic pragmatic marker construction“ADV.+speaking”in COHA(per 10 million words)are shown in Table 6.1 and Figure6.1.
The construction“ADV.+speaking”has the lowest total frequency in the 1820s,with an approximate frequency of 8.57 per 10 million words,and the highest totalfrequency in the 1900s,with an approximate frequency of 20.42 per 10 million words.From the 1820s to the 1900s,the overall frequency of“ADV.+speaking”tends to rise,with a slow and then rapid increase,while from the 1900s to the 1980s,the overallfrequency of“ADV.+speaking”tends to fall,with a rapid and then slow decrease.From 1900s to 1980s,the overall frequency of“ADV.+speaking”shows a downwardtrend,and the rate of decrease is first rapid and then slow.Overall,the 1900s is a keypoint for“ADV.+speaking”in the COHA corpus,before which the overall frequencyof“ADV.+speaking”increases and then begins to decrease but is still higher than itsuse in the 1820s.Langacker(1987)believes that a cognitive event becomes more andmore deeply entrenched through continued repetition.In other words,the degree ofentrenchment of a linguistic unit is related to its frequency of use.Being much morefrequent,a construction has become more entrenched in its constructional network.Table 6.1 and Figure 6.1 show an increase in the use of the schematic pragmaticmarker construction“ADV.+speaking”,suggesting that this construction has becomemore entrenched in the speech community and is stored as chunks in the brain bylanguage users.
7.1 Major Findings of the Thesis
Pragmatic markers have been a hot topic in the study of pragmatics.In the earlystudies,researchers mostly discussed them from a synchronic perspective.After the1990s,the study of pragmatic markers was introduced into historical linguistics.Butthere is always a controversial question that whether the emergence of pragmaticmarkers is the result of grammaticalization,lexicalization,or pragmaticalization.Previous studies ignore multi-word pragmatic markers,schematic pragmatic markerswith similar form or meaning(e.g.,“ADV.+V.-ing”)and the evolution ofconstructional networks.Therefore,this thesis makes a corpus-based study on thediachronic evolution of the English SVPM construction“ADV.+V.-ing”under theframework of diachronic construction grammar,combining diachronic constructiongrammar with pragmatics and attaching equal importance to form and meaning.
In the synchronic analysis of“ADV.+V.-ing”,its frequency distribution,syntactic,register and pragmatic features are discussed.“ADV.+speaking”has the highestfrequency followed by“ADV.+saying”.With the advance of time,the frequency of“ADV.+speaking”and“ADV.+saying”gradually increases,indicating that more andmore language users use them as pragmatic markers,which enhances the degree ofentrenchment as single language units.“ADV.+V.-ing”as pragmatic makers mostcommonly occur in the initial position of clauses.Its frequency in seven genres of academic text,fiction,popular magazine,movie subtitles,newspaper,spoken and TVis nearly evenly distributed.Based on different theories and from different perspectives,scholars have different views on the functions of pragmatic markers.This thesis takesAndersen’s classification principle of pragmatic markers(2001)that the functions of aparticular pragmatic marker are a synthesis of subjective,interactional and textualmeanings.The predominant functions of“ADV.+V.-ing”is the subjective function,followed by the interactive function and textual function.In other words,“ADV.+V.-ing”is often used by speakers to express their personal opinions andattitudes.Diachronically,the author uses the corpus analysis tool Wmatrix to analyzethe semantic domains of adverbs in“ADV.+speaking”and“ADV.+speaking”,“ADV.+speaking”mainly concentrate on five semantic domains:manner and degree,society and culture,natural science,politics and economy,and thinking andpsychology while“ADV.+saying”mainly focus on manner and degree.