grammaticalization and complexity

Frederick J Newmeyer fjn at
Tue Mar 15 22:50:25 UTC 2011


I am looking for nice examples of where a grammaticalization-related change, however motivated it might be from the point of view of the language user, ends up increasing the overall complexity of the resultant grammatical system. One example that came to mind is the formation of the distinct grammatical category of Modal Auxilary in English out of a subclass of verbs. One might argue that English grammar is now more complex because there are two categories rather than one and each have very distinct properties. Can anybody think of other/better examples from other languages?

Thanks! I'll summarize if there is any interest.


Frederick J. Newmeyer
Professor Emeritus, University of Washington
Adjunct Professor, University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University
[for my postal address, please contact me by e-mail]

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