Subjectivization and Intersubjectivization in the Evolution of the Verb “Témer” in Catalan (13th-19th c.)

Authors

Abstract

In current-day Catalan, the verb témer (‘to fear’) has an intersubjective value, together with a lexical and epistemic/evidential value. It is used as a strategy of negative politeness in contexts where an apology is made or information that the speaker anticipates will displease or contradict the hearer/reader. However, this value is not exclusive to Catalan and has been observed and studied in diachrony in other languages, especially English. Based on previous studies, this paper aims to describe and explain the process of change whereby the verb témer (‘to fear’) and other synonymous idioms (haver/tenir por/paor/temor) will develop an intersubjective value in Catalan, in a process that will end during the nineteenth century. This research is based on the analysis of data from computerized textual corpora of old, modern and contemporary Catalan. The data obtained have been analyzed qualitatively – in contrast to the evolution described for English (especially in Mazzon’s 2012 study) – using the concept of (inter)subjectivation by E. C. Traugott (Traugott & Dasher 2001; Traugott 2010)

Keywords

Catalan language, diachronic linguistics, (inter)subjectification, politeness, pragmatics, témer (‘to fear’)

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Author Biography

Jordi M. Antolí Martínez, Universitat d’Alacant

Departament de Filologia Catalana

Published

21-12-2020

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