criticisms of grammaticalization
kemmer at rice.edu
Tue Feb 28 17:17:47 UTC 2006
I take Martin's points in general, but his historical comment below
makes no sense to me.
If in the generative world view, syntactic patterns are epiphenomena
that fall out of their theories, then why would generative linguists
observations about grammaticalization as epiphenomena, since they
can't see how these observations fall out of any theory of
Perhaps there is already a dual usage in Linguistics : 'epiphenomena'
is being used to mean 'complex surface patterns originated by deep
underlying principles (and such patterns are worth studying because
they reveal the deep principles)'; vs. 'trivial surface patterns that
cannot reveal anything meaningful about deep underlying causes'.
It's the latter sense that I am most familiar with in the form of
remarks at conferences and in reviews of functional work.
I hope this word falls out of fashion in linguistics sooner rather
Martin Haspelmath wrote:
I think the label "epiphenomenon" for grammaticalization theory arose
when generative linguists looking at what grammaticalization
theorists said could not find a theory easily comparable to their
familiar "binding theory" or "X-bar theory". In the generative world
view, binding facts and phrase structure facts are epiphenomena
falling out from the respective theories, but grammaticalization
phenomena do not fall out so easily from grammaticalization theory.
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