Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > An evolutionary approach to semasiological change


Text available via DOI:

View graph of relations

An evolutionary approach to semasiological change: Overt influence attempts through the development of the Mandarin 吧-ba particle

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Pragmatics
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)35-53
Early online date13/09/17
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper focuses on the pragmatics of overt influence attempts (cf. Reich, 2011, 2012; Tantucci, 2016a) and their cognitive relationship with semasiological change. As a case study, the present analysis is centred on the recent history of the Mandarin 吧-ba sentence-final particle, starting from the Qing Dynasty (1644--1911) up to its present day usage. Corpus-based data from the CCL Peking corpus highlight a progressive shift from an original directive usage towards a later assertive employment. In the latter case, speaker/ writer ‘invites’ addressee/reader to agree with his/her statement on the basis of what is ‘socially’ or ‘interpersonally’ expected to be true/ sensible. The cooperatively ‘expected action’ originally prompted by the particle, will then turn into cooperatively ‘expected certainty’ in later usages. From an evolutionary-psychological angle, at every stage of the cline it emerges the speaker/writer's consistent attempt to exert social influence on addressee/reader in the form of an ‘interested’ co-act proposal (cf. Reich, 2011; Tantucci, 2016b).
Crown Copyright © 2017 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Bibliographic note

This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Pragmatics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Pragmatics, 120, 2017 DOI: 10.1016/j.pragma.2017.08.006