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date: 10 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Language change is the result of innovative communicative practices that spread from innovative individuals to larger communities of language users (communities of practice) and ultimately to entire language communities. Historical pragmatics traces the pragmatic motivations of language change, and investigates the diachronic developments of pragmatic entities. This article provides an overview of the processes of grammaticalization and pragmaticalization, which account for language change from a pragmatic perspective, and gives two case studies of the development of specific pragmatic entities. The first case study concerns the diachrony of particular speech acts (greetings and compliments) and the necessary research methods, and the second concerns the diachrony of an entire domain of discourse, i.e. the dissemination of news from early newspapers to mass media practices on the Internet.

Keywords: language change, community of practice, grammaticalization, pragmaticalization, speech acts, greetings, compliments, news discourse, mass media

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