La evolución diacrónica de la categoría de la modalidad deóntica en euskara


Abstract  The purpose of this paper is to provide an account for the polysemy of the construction behar (to have to) in Basque from the perspective of semantic change where multiple uses of a grammatical form may be regarded as stages along a grammaticalization path. Two important mechanisms of language change, namely, strengthening of informativeness (Traugott 1989) and subjectification (Langacker: in press) will be held accountable for the semantic changes undergone by the construction. On the one hand, the process of strengthening of informativeness will be shown to be part of the initial stages in the grammaticalization process, which result in the readings of intentionality and planned actions; the process of subjectification, on the other hand, will be argued to account for the later stages of the process, which include the readings of inevitability, epistemiticity and prediction, among others. It will be shown that the viability of the analysis of the data proposed in this paper underscores the existence of important communication needs and underlying cognitive principles in the use and development of language.

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