Prof.Dr. Bernd Heine Bernd.Heine at UNI-KOELN.DE
Wed Dec 6 07:55:49 UTC 1995

While I have nothing to contribute on gender bias in English, the second
concern of Tom Payne's students is also a major concern of some of us
working in the field of grammaticalization theory. As the work of the past
decades suggests, the evolution of grammatical forms is fairly regular and
allows for a number of predictions, e.g. of the form
- If in a given language an indefinite article evolves then most likely it
  will be derived from the numeral 'one',
- if a definite article arises then the most likely source is a demonstrative
  attribute, etc.
I have recently published a paper summarizing a few generalizations in the
area of spatial orientation (Heine, "Conceptual grammaticalization and
prediction", in: John Taylor & Robert MacLaury (eds.), LANGUAGE AND THE
COGNITIVE CONSTRUAL OF THE WORLD, Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter), but
this is just the beginning of a research whose ultimate goal it is to argue
that we as linguists can predict much more than we think we can. It goes
without saying that these predictions are PROBABILISTIC, but it seems that
this applies also to any other predictions we may think of in our field.
Bernd Heine

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