Davis, Christopher & Daniel Gutzmann. 2015. Use-conditional meaning and the semantics of pragmaticalization. Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 19. 197–213.


Pragmaticalization is the diachronic process by which proposi- tional, truth-conditional semantic content develops into expressive, use- conditional content. Against the background of a multidimensional hybrid semantics, which employs both truth- and use-conditions to capture the entire conventional meaning of natural language expressions, this change can be understood as a diachronic type shift from truth-conditional to use- conditional meaning. We suggest that in general such shifts do not happen directly, but via an intermediate stage in which a 2-dimensional expression with mixed content is formed, which in a final stage may develop into pure use-conditional content. These concepts are applied to two cases of prag- maticalization: the antihonorific aspectual marker shimau in Japanese, and the expressive negation marker neenu in Miyara Yaeyaman, a related lan- guage of the Southern Ryukyus. As the second case study shows, pragmat- icalization may also involve a process which we call pragmatic fission, in which a mixed expression splits into two separate items, leading to a lex- ical ambiguity between a plain truth-conditional expression and a purely use-conditional item.