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From immediate to extended intersubjectification: a gradient approach to intersubjective awareness and semasiological change

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 December 2015

Lancaster University


This paper provides a theoretical and methodological contribution to the heated debate on intersubjectivity and intersubjectification (Nuyts, 2001, 2012; Traugott & Dasher, 2002; Traugott, 2003, 2010, 2012; Verhagen, 2005; Narrog, 2010, 2012; Dancygier & Sweetser, 2012). I will argue that intersubjectivity, intended as a subject’s awareness of the other persona(s)’ feelings, knowledge, and beliefs, can be construed alternatively on an ‘immediate’ and on an ‘extended’ level. Immediate intersubjectivity (I-I) corresponds to the mutual awareness of the speech participants during the ongoing speech event, whereas extended intersubjectivity (E-I) includes an assumed third party (specific or generic) who has an indirect social bearing on the utterance (cf. Tantucci 2013, 2014). Along a unidirectional cline of change, extended intersubjectification constitutes a further stage of semantic and/or grammatical reanalysis with respect to its immediate counterpart. In order to empirically justify the diachronic continuum between the two, I provide some corpus-illustrated (cf. Tummers et al., 2005, p. 235) examples from Mandarin and corpus-based evidence about the constructions [you don’t want X] and believe it or not in American English.

Research Article
Copyright © UK Cognitive Linguistics Association 2015 

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