Jon Aske jaske at ABACUS.BATES.EDU
Sun Oct 29 00:42:51 UTC 1995

The prototypical examples of grammatic(al)ization in the literature have
been examples of morphologic(al)ization, but this should not prevent us
from seeing the larger picture, namely that grammaticalization should be
considered as a phenomenon of wider scope than the development (process or
product) of grammatical morphemes from lexical ones.

Furthermore, we cannot really always very well separate the development of
morphemes (morphologic(al)ization) from the development of constructions
(syntactic(al)ization), since they are both so intimately intertwined.
Even when it seems that all that's happening is the development of a
grammatical morpheme, we must keep in mind that the morpheme is part of a
construction too, as emphasized in constructional approaches to
linguistics (such as construction grammar) and as illustrated in the
following quote from Christian Lehmann:

"The grammaticalization of a sign is bound up inseparably
with the reduction of its syntagmatic variability. This
means that grammaticalization does not merely seize a word
or a morpheme--namely the one which it reduces to a
grammatical formative and finally to zero--, but instead
the whole construction formed by the syntagmatic relations
of the element in question.  To the extent that the
external relations of this construction are contracted by
the grammaticalized formative, they are also seized by the
grammaticalization process. Consequently, with the
grammaticalization of a bound morpheme the syntagmatic
variability of its host shrinks, too. Thus, the fixation
of any word order can be a consequence of
grammaticalization." (C. Lehmann 1992:406)

This doesn't mean that there isn't a big difference between the
development of a grammatical morpheme and the reanalysis of a construction
in which there might not even be any new morphemes being developed or
changed (though there may well be some, as it typically happens), as for
instance in word order change (which takes place by means of changes in
individual constructions in the first place).  All I'm saying is that we
need an inclusive term to group all (diachronic) changes which affect the
grammar, and if we don't use grammatic(al)ization, then what else could we

Hopper and Traugott do exclude word order change from the study of
grammaticalization because it is not unidirectional and thus "should not
be identified with grammaticalization in the narrower sense" (H&T
1993:50).  However, I'm not sure that dividing "narrow-sense"
grammaticalization from other types of grammaticalization is always a wise
idea, for at some point we must acknowledge the similarities, or the
(cognitive and linguistic) commonalities of the two processes, and having
a single label for both seems to me like a good place to start.  But of
course we should not get stuck on labels and should strive to understand
the processes themselves.  As always.

I'm not sure this adds any light to the debate, I just hope it doesn't add
any heat to it :)



Hopper, Paul J. and Traugott, Elizabeth Closs. 1993.  Grammaticalization.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lehmann, Christian. 1992. Word order change by grammaticalization.  In:
Marinel Gerritsen and Dieter Stein, eds., Internal and external factors in
syntactic change (Trends in linguistics.  Studies and monographs, 61), pp.
395-416. (A selection of papers that were presented at the workshop ...
held during the Ninth International Conference on Historical Linguistics
at Rutgers University in August 1989.) Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

Jon Aske  /  jaske at (Bates) / jonaske at (UCB)

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