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Sheldon Pollock’s work on the history of literary cultures in the ‘Sanskrit Cosmopolis’ broke new ground in the theorization of historical processes of vernacularization and served as a wake-up call for comparative approaches to such processes in other translocal cultural formations. But are his characterizations of vernacularization in the Sinographic Sphere accurate, and do his ideas and framework allow us to speak of a ‘Sinographic Cosmopolis’? How do the special typology of sinographic writing and associated technologies of vernacular reading complicate comparisons between the Sankrit and Latinate cosmopoleis? Such are the questions tackled in this volume.

Contributors are Daehoe Ahn, Yufen Chang, Wiebke Denecke, Torquil Duthie, Marion Eggert, Greg Evon, Hoduk Hwang, John Jorgensen, Ross King, David Lurie, Alexey Lushchenko, Si Nae Park, John Phan, Mareshi Saito, and S. William Wells.
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Meaning change in grammaticalization has been variously described in terms of decreasing semantic weight and increasing generality, abstraction, (inter)subjectivity or discourse orientation. The author shows that all these trends are subsumed by the notion of scope increase along a precise hierarchy of semantic and pragmatic layers of grammatical organization such as endorsed by Functional Discourse Grammar. The scope-increase hypothesis is immune from the exceptions and veritable counterexamples to all the aforementioned generalizations and has the decisive advantage of being more objectively measurable, given its direct bearing on actual linguistic structure. The extremely rare exceptions to this generalization are also addressed and found to always result from a type of change independent from grammaticalization – the merger of two separate speech acts.
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In this volume, long-standing assumptions about the formal changes involved in grammaticalization are evaluated in the light of the striking diversity of human languages. To this end, the traditional notions of morphological coalescence, syntactic fixation and phonological erosion are reassessed with regard to their relationship with the diachronic changes affecting the function of the construction and with larger-scale typological changes that affect the language as a whole (especially, shifts in morphological type and word-order patterns). The author reaches the conclusion that suprasegmental phonological erosion and syntactic fixation (redefined in a template-based framework) are direct consequences of functional change and are therefore significant indicators of grammaticalization, whereas coalescence and segmental erosion are independently motivated by psycholinguistic, rather than strictly grammatical factors.
Was plurilingualism the exception or the norm in traditional Eurasian scholarship? This volume presents a selection of primary sources—in many cases translated into English for the first time—with introductions that provide fascinating historical materials for challenging notions of the ways in which traditional Eurasian scholars dealt with plurilingualism and monolingualism. Comparative in approach, global in scope, and historical in orientation, it engages with the growing discussion of plurilingualism and focuses on fundamental scholarly practices in various premodern and early modern societies—Chinese, Indian, Mesopotamian, Jewish, Islamic, Ancient Greek, and Roman—asking how these were conceived by the agents themselves. The volume will be an indispensable resource for courses on these subjects and on the history of scholarship and reflection on language throughout the world.
Author:
If you read a work by Cicero or Seneca and then open The Pilgrimage of Egeria, Augustine, or Gregory of Tours, you will soon notice that Late Latin authors quote authorities differently. They provide a perfect example of synthesising two potentially conflicting traditions – “classical” and “biblical”. This book examines how the system of direct discourse marking developed over the centuries. It focuses on selecting marking means, presents the dynamics of change and suggests factors that might have been at play. The author guides the reader on the path that goes from the Classical prevalence of inquit to the Late innovative mix of marking words including the very classical inquit, an increased use of dico, the newly recruited ait, and dicens, influenced by biblical translations. The book suggests that Late authors tried to make reading and understanding easier by putting quotative words before quotations and increasing the use of redundant combinations (e.g. “he answered saying”).
The Close, the Distant, and the Known
In this volume, Maxim N. Kupreyev explores the intricate stories of Egyptian-Coptic demonstratives and adverbs, personal, relative pronouns and definite articles. Applying the concepts of distance, contrast, and joint attention, the book offers a panorama of competing deitic systems in Old Kingdom Egypt. It singles out dialectal differences and outlines the history of deixis not as a linear development, but as a competition of regional variants that gradually attain normative status. The results of the study reconsider the evolution of Ancient Egyptian, its periodization and its embedding in the Afro-Asiatic linguistic context.