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Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton November 24, 2015

The historical development of saburafu

The roles of communication and cognition

Toshiko Yamaguchi


This paper proposes an alternative account of the historical development of saburafu, a humiliating honorific marker in Japanese. Traugott and Dasher (2002) established a theory called Invited Inference Theory of Semantic Change (IITSC), in which saburafu is employed as a supporting case study. By inspecting saburafu’s semantic changes, including aspects not discussed in IITSC, the compelling difference between IITSC and the analysis I propose is that, firstly, inspired by Keller’s theory of communication (1998), it proposes semiotic ways of communication in place of pragmatic inferencing; and secondly, it shows that the ways in which the viewer and the viewed, the construct central to Langacker’s viewing arrangement, are fundamental to the apprehension of honorification. This new, yet preliminary, account will be enriched by select examples especially from Old/Late Old Japanese.

Published Online: 2015-11-24
Published in Print: 2015-11-27

© 2015 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston