The Meaning of Focus Particles: A Comparative Perspective

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November 1991



Focus particles--"even, only, also, merely"--play an important role in English in various syntactic and semantic domains such as coordination, focusing, emphatic reflexives, concessive constructions, and quantification. The syntactic properties of these expressions pose numerous problems for current syntactic frameworks and the highly context-dependent and subjective nature of their meaning presents a challenge for semantic theories. "The Meaning of Focus Particles" presents a comprehensive analysis of the syntax, meaning, and use of focus particles and related function words. It combines an in-depth analysis of English with a comparative study of many other languages. Ekkehard Konig also provides a historical perspective on focus particles by examining their diachronic sources and the relevant process of grammaticalization. "The Meaning of Focus Particles" will appeal to philosophers of language and semanticists of all persuasions. Specialistsin English will find a new approach to the syntactic and semantic properties of a class of adverbs' whose analysis until now has been problematic. The comparative aspect is of real interest to language typologists, since this is the first time that a cross-linguistic typology of this pragmatic-semantic area has been proposed. For the historical linguist there are detailed discussions of grammaticalization processes, of correlations between historical sources and targets in focus particle development, and of the pragmatic-semantic interaction in historical change.


1. Introduction 2. Syntax 3. The meaning of focus particles: an overview 4. Additive particles 5. Exclusive particles 6. Identical values in conflicting roles 7. Focus particles and phase quantification 8. Historical aspects 9. Overview and further prospects References
EAN: 9780415060448
ISBN: 0415060443
Untertitel: 'Theoretical Linguistics'. New. Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: November 1991
Seitenanzahl: 232 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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