Publication details

Pragmatic uses of ‘I say’ in Latin

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Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Historical Pragmatics
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Web Pragmatic uses of ‘I say’ in Latin
Keywords aio; dico; grammaticalization; inquam; I say; Latin; loquor; pragmatic markers
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Description This paper examines the pragmatic uses and functions of the Latin verb inquam (‘I say’) and compares it with three synonyms – dico (‘I say, I speak, I declare’), loquor (‘I speak, I say, I utter’) and aio (‘I say yes, I say, I affirm’). Verbs of speech and thought in the first person are (cross-linguistically) a source of pragmatic markers, because the first person of these verbs is necessarily speaker-orientated and is also apt for expressing the speaker’s attitude. This can be seen in English pragmatic markers developed from verbs, such as I mean, I think and I say, and Romance ones, such as the Italian credo (‘I think’). Latin verbs with the meaning ‘I say’ (henceforth used as a hypernym for all of the verbs examined herein) also show pragmatic uses, as is clear from Latin dictionaries. The issue addressed in this paper is the extent to which they are interchangeable and how advanced they are in their development towards becoming pragmatic markers. For this goal, the paper will focus on a variety of pragmatic uses of ‘I say’, the contexts in which they appear, and the influence of genre on their distribution. Drawing on Bazzanella (2006) and Ghezzi (2014) , the pragmatic uses will be divided into three main categories: textual, cognitive and interactional. It will be shown that the border between different pragmatic functions or readings is not neat and one instance can have various pragmatic uses at the same time.
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