When (se) voir can no longer see
Keywords:cognitive semantics, subjectification, grammaticalization, perception verbs, diathesis
The article analyzes the verbs (se) voir followed by an infinitive complement as an example of subjectification according to R. W. Langacker. Subjectification refers to a semantic change involving a semantic bleaching, which can result in grammaticalization. A relatively objective construal of an entity is replaced by a more subjective one, or in other words, it designates a process in which the objectivity of the construed entity is gradually replaced by the subjectivity of the conceptualizer. The verb (se) voir reaches a relatively high degree of subjectification, in comparison with two other verbs of perception, (s’) entendre, (se) sentir. (Se) voir accepts a shift in domain of perception and even a change from a domain of perception to a more abstract one. At the same time, the degree of control exercised by its subject can be to large extent attenuated. And, furthermore, its reflexive form can be regarded as a passive diathesis auxiliary, or rather as a passive diathesis semi-auxiliary.
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Copyright (c) 2016 Gregor Perko
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