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Re: THEORY: Is Jespersen cycle a cycle?

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  • Leonardo Castro
    BTW, just now I realize that Jespersen cycle has not to do with the position of the negative word in relation to the verb. It s a cycle just because the same
    Message 1 of 13 , Aug 23, 2013
      BTW, just now I realize that Jespersen cycle has not to do with the
      position of the negative word in relation to the verb. It's a cycle
      just because the same phenomenon happens over and over again.

      Até mais!

      Leonardo


      2013/8/23 Leonardo Castro <leolucas1980@...>:
      > Yesterday, I noted that something similar to the Jespersen cycle might
      > have happened to the present continuous tense, in my 1st language and
      > probably in English and other languages too.
      >
      > When I was going home, I called my wife to say "I'm going home"
      > ("estou indo para casa"), but that "I'm going" was first understood
      > that I was already to leave my work in a few minutes.
      >
      > Similarly, other words whose literal interpretation is more close to
      > "now" or "right now" are frequently used in the sense of "in a few
      > minutes", probably because people abuse them for their spouses and
      > parents not to keep asking them on the phone "why aren't they already
      > coming".
      >
      > What is more strange is that words that should reinforce the sense of
      > "now" sometimes just make clearer the sense of "soon". In pt-BR, "Já!"
      > is "Now!", but "Já, já..." is almost surely "Soon...". "Agora" is
      > "now", but "agora mesmo" is also "soon".
      >
      > Abuse of the word "literally" seems to be moving its meaning towards
      > "figuratively":
      > http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/15/living/literally-definition
      >
      > So, it seems that the Jespersen cycle is a case of a broader
      > phenomenon. Is there already a name for this type of "weaking of
      > meaning" that can lead to change of meaning?
      >
      > What if the word "negative" is supressed from the following text?
      >
      > "The history of negative expressions in various languages makes us
      > witness the following curious fluctuation: the original negative
      > adverb is first weakened, then found insufficient and therefore
      > strengthened, generally through some additional word, and this in turn
      > may be felt as the negative proper and may then in the course of time
      > be subject to the same development as the original word."
      > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jespersen's_Cycle
      > http://people.ds.cam.ac.uk/dwew2/network_meeting_handout_english.pdf
      >
      >
      > Até mais!
      >
      > Leonardo
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