criticisms of grammaticalization

Martin Hilpert hilpert at
Sat Feb 25 18:11:47 UTC 2006

Dear Funknetters,

I'd like to find out whether anyone has addressed the following two 
theoretical criticisms against grammaticalization theory:

1. Unidirectionality, if it exists, is an even greater problem for 
functionalism than if it turns out to be false. Developments that span 
centuries would have to be explained independently of speakers, who only 
have access to three generations of other speakers. (I attribute this one to 
Janda 2001.)

2. Grammaticalization should really be decomposed into its independently 
existing component processes. There's no point in granting explanatory power 
to an epiphenomenon. (Newmeyer 1998, Joseph 2001, amongst others)

Any references - or spontaneous reactions - will be greatly appreciated. 

Thanks, --Martin

Martin Hilpert
Rice University
Department of Linguistics MS 23
6100 Main Street
77005-1892 Houston TX
Tel (001) 713 3482822
Fax (001) 713 3484718

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