A corpus-based account of the development of English such and Dutch zulk: Identification, intensification and (inter)subjectification

Lobke Ghesquière, Freek Van de Velde
2011 Cognitive Linguistics  
On the basis of synchronic English language material, Bolinger (1972) has put forward the hypothesis that intensifying meanings or "degree words" often develop from identifying expressions. This paper will empirically test Bolinger's hypothesis by means of in-depth diachronic study of the development of suchone of Bolinger's central examples -and of its Dutch cognate zulk in h istorical text corpora. To this aim, a detailed cognitive-functional account will first be provided of the (differences
more » ... between the) identifying and intensifying uses of such and zulk, with attention for diachronic changes affecting the syntax and semantics of these uses, cross-linguistically as well as language-specifically. It will be shown that, as predicted by Bolinger (1972) , the proportion of identifying uses decreases over time in favor of the intensifying uses both in English and Dutch. The comparison between such and zulk will, however, show that, despite the close relation between these two languages, the development does not run strictly parallel in English and Dutch, thus endorsing a view that language change does not necessarily follow predetermined pathways. We will argue that minute differences in the syntax of such and zulk steer the d iachronic course these elements follow. Finally, Bolinger's shift from identification to * Authors' affiliations:
doi:10.1515/cogl.2011.028 fatcat:b3u3nl2l5vcz5jzpcwlfxbv22e