Degrammaticalization (Oxford Linguistics)

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Robert D. Tam Blaxter University of Cambridge Verified email at cam.

On degrammaticalization

Reader in Historical linguistics, University of Cambridge. Verified email at cam. Articles Cited by Co-authors. Grammatical Change: Origins, Nature, and Outcomes, , Transactions of the Philological Society 3 , , Diachronic syntax: Models and mechanisms, , Grammaticalization: Current views and issues, , Resumptive pronouns at the interfaces, , English Language and Linguistics 16 03 , , Articles 1—20 Show more. Help Privacy Terms. On the distribution of resumptive pronouns and wh -trace in Welsh D Willis Journal of Linguistics 36 3 , , Syntactic lexicalization as a new type of degrammaticalization D Willis Linguistics 45 2 , , Sort , , Reconstructing last week's weather: Syntactic reconstruction and Brythonic free relatives 1 D Willis Journal of Linguistics 47 2 , , Verb movement in Slavonic conditionals D Willis Diachronic syntax: Models and mechanisms, , Degrammaticalization and obsolescent morphology: Evidence from Slavonic D Willis Grammaticalization: Current views and issues, , The limits of resumption in Welsh wh-dependencies D Willis Resumptive pronouns at the interfaces, , As shown by Himmelmann , Lehmann also is not consistent in his use of the concepts of grammaticalization and lexicalization with respect to the rise of derivational affixes.

It remains to be seen whether this is a purely terminological problem. Central to this whole question is probably whether we want to see derivational affixes as grammatical morphemes or as lexical ones.


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Construction grammar offers an interesting perspective on the rise of derivational affixes through its conception of a hierarchical lexion in which generalizations can be stated at different levels of abstraction. In our contribution, we will argue that affixoids can be interpreted as elements of constructional idioms; they can be seen as words or morphemes with specific properties when embedded in compounds.

In constructionalization of this type, both elements of lexicalization and of grammaticalization are involved. In our talk, we will discuss the usefulness of the concept of 'grammaticalization' in diachronic studies of word formation and its relation with lexicalization and constructionalization.

This view might offer a new perspective on the rise of derivational affixes and we hope that our discussion of the concepts can be helpful in 'refining grammaticalization'. We will provide thorough analyses of some examples from Dutch and German to illustrate our argumentation. Booij , Geert. Construction Morphology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Brinton , Laurel J. Lexicalization and Language Change. Cambridge, New York etc. Himmelmann , Nikolaus P. Lexicalization and grammaticization: Opposite or orthogonal? A look from its fringes and its components, Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Hopper , Paul J. Second edition.

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Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Munske , Horst Haider. In Mechthild Habermann, Peter O. Diachronic construction grammar and grammaticalization theory. Functions of Language 14 2. Stevens , Christopher M. Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter. Szczepaniak , Renata. Grammatikalisierung im Deutschen.

One of the poster child examples is the development from demonstrative determiner to definite article, e. As this definition is tailored to inflected languages, it proves problematic for non-inflected ones such as English. Other questions concern the presence of formal features.

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It is only very recently that the notion of secondary grammaticalization has been picked up in the debate on grammaticalization and its defining properties have not be studied in detail. The formal properties put forward so far include obligatorification Kranich , automaticization and restriction of syntactic contexts Traugott The aim of this paper is to investigate the properties of secondary grammaticalization further using examples of secondary grammaticalization in one domain of English grammar, the noun phrase.

I will look at the development from quantifier to indefinite article, e. The formal processes include, in addition to obligatorification, paradigmaticization, host-class expansion and progressive leftward positioning in the phrasal structure. This last feature provides further evidence for the claim that the formal changes in secondary grammaticalization are not universal, but determined by the type of language.

A comparison with the processes of primary grammaticalization affecting same, very, certain and several, will allow me to evaluate to what degree primary and secondary grammaticalization are different. The paper also adds to the understanding of the formal e. Traugott traditions in grammaticalization studies. Folia Linguistica 42 2 : — Reconstructing paths of secondary grammaticalization of same from emphasizing to phoricity and single-referent-marking postdeterminer uses. Is there a postdeterminer in the English noun phrase? Transactions of the Philological Society 3 : — The evolution of dependent clause morpho-syntax in Biblical Hebrew.

In Elizabeth C. Approaches to Grammaticalization, vol. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Grammaticalization, 2nd edn. Kranich , Svenja. Subjective progressives in seventeenth and eightteenth century English: Secondary grammaticalization as a process of objectification. English Historical Linguistics Volume I: Syntax and Morphology.

Norde , Muriel. De grammaticalization and de subjectification. Traugott , Elizabeth C.

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Inter subjectivity and inter subjectification: a reassessment. Subjectification, Intersubjectification and Grammaticalization. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. The purpose of this paper is to show that this non-traditional clausal view of grammaticalization is not wholly unproblematic, and hence that any viable notion of grammaticalization at clausal level will have to be carefully defined. Fischer Deutscher , Guy. Fischer , Olga. Morphosyntactic change: Functional and formal perspectives. On understanding grammar.

New York: Academic Press. University of Oregon. Heine , Bernd. Grammaticalizatio n, 2nd edition. The genesis of grammar: A reconstruction. Joseph , Brian. The synchrony and diachrony of the Balkan infinitive. Cambridge: CUP. Lehmann , Christian. Thompson eds. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. Recent theory-formation has recognized the challenge of distinguishing grammaticalization from the in many ways similar process of lexicalization e. Both processes affect syntagms, not individual items, and involve semantic erosion, fusion and fixing of the component elements.

Their outcome, however, differs: grammaticalization leads to a unit with categorial or operational meaning, and lexicalization to a unit with a specific, contentful meaning.

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Trousdale forthc. I will argue that associating lexicalization with non-analyzability and non-productivity is problematic. The frequency of some composite predicates is high and as such does not allow principled differentiation from, for instance, periphrastic auxiliaries. I will propose that grammaticalization is better distinguished from lexicalization in terms of our general understanding of what it means to be a member of the lexicon or a structure in the grammar. As stressed in lexicosemantics and cognitive psychology, lexical items are defined by their distinct collocational patterns.

The products of lexicalization and idiomatization can therefore be recognized by the fact that they exercise collocational control over a unique set of collocates. Conversely, the process of grammaticalization is characterized by the lifting of collocational selection restrictions : grammaticalizing units extend to more and more lexicosemantic sets Hopper and eventually specific semantic prosodies of the collocates can be expected to disappear Lorenz The specificity of grammaticalizing structures lies both on the paradigmatic and syntagmatic axis.

Grammatical elements are intrinsically relational elements, which, in the case of subjective grammatical markers, are modifiers of, or operators on, the propositional material in their scope. If elements shift from lexical to grammatical meaning, it should be possible to observe how they shift from being part of the lexical material being asserted to forging relations within, or modifying, the propositional material. Paradigmatically, I propose, with reference to Halliday , , that grammaticalization involves increasing systemicness.

The oppositions within a grammatical paradigm can, at an abstract level, be viewed as obtaining between features generalizing over members. The organization of grammar crucially hinges on interdependencies between features from different systems. As items grammaticalize, they become not simply members of a grammatical class e. All the theoretical points made will be illustrated with the history of the modal parenthetical there is no question , which over time developed uses involving multiple combinations of modal and polar values, such as emphatically positive epistemic, emphatically positive deontic, externally negated dynamic-deontic, internally negated epistemic.

These grammaticalized uses were predated - and prefashioned - by various lexicalizations, such as the now obsolete composite predicate make question.