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Title: Grammaticalization
Author(s): K. Aaron Smith
Journal Title: Language and Linguistics Compass
Volume: 5
Issue: 6
Page Range: 367-380
Publication Date: Jun-2011
Abstract: This article presents the study of grammaticalization within the fields of language change and variation, and historical linguistics. Grammaticalization has to do with the diachronic relationship between the lexicon and grammar and with stages of relatively greater and lesser grammaticality. The major effects of grammaticalization, e.g. phonological reduction, semantic generalization, and fusion (or bondedness) are reviewed. The various roles that reanalysis, analogy, and frequency play in grammaticalization are also discussed. The paper further presents the role that grammaticalization studies has played in establishing diachronic universals and discusses metaphor and metonymy in motivating those universals. Finally, the controversies concerning the exceptional status of grammaticalization, the unidirectionality hypothesis, and the legitimacy of grammaticalization as ‘process’ and ‘theory’ are addressed.

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Where have all the diachronic generative studies g   by Chiara Gianollo, Compass Panelist , 30-Aug-11
Close to concluding his paper, on page 378 the author says: 'nearly all work in grammaticalization is functionalist-based'. This somehow answered a question that had been bugging me while I was reading the paper, namely, where are all the contributions that scholars working in the generative framework have given during the past decades? But I'm not sure what to make of the author's position here: he only cites Roberts & Roussou 1999, a 30-page paper on Linguistics, as 'an example of grammaticalization work carried out in a generative approach'. While Roberts and Roussou's work is certainly one of the most important contribution from a generative perspective, they presented their ideas in a much broader perspective and with much more data in their 2003 book (CUP). Moreover, grammaticalization has been a topic of research for the diachronic generative community at least since Lightfoot 1979 (CUP). The volumes issuing out of the DiGS (Diachronic Generative Syntax Conference, meeting since 1990) attest to that. Diachronic research on grammaticalization has come up with very detailed cross-linguistic descriptions of grammaticalization processes (modals, auxiliaries, negation, determiners, complementizers, to cite only some) and interesting theoretical generalizations. It has shown how synchronic and diachronic formal research (can) go hand-in-hand, unlike what Smith seems to assume (pp. 377-378). This is a point that has also been prominently made by research on grammaticalization within the LFG framework. I think that it is a pity that such an interesting, and for some aspects original, overview, ends up being trapped in the trite formalist vs. functionalist dichotomy, without succeeding in synthesizing the constructive perspectives coming from both sides. This is probably also connected to the importance that the author attributes to the debate on grammaticalization as a 'theory' or a 'theoretical framework'. I fail to understand the very basis of this debate, it would be interesting to know what other Compass readers think of it...
A guide to core issues in grammaticalization resea   by Chiara Gianollo, Compass Panelist , 30-Aug-11
This paper is a useful resource for those who approach grammaticalization studies for the first time, and can be used -with some caution, see the following post- as a field guide in classes on historical linguistics. It gives an interesting overview of the origins of the concept, and summarizes well the main questions in grammaticalization research. It makes a very clear point concerning the interpretation of grammaticalization not only as a process that goes from 'lexical' to 'grammatical', but also from 'less grammatical' to 'more grammatical' (primary vs secondary grammaticalization). It discusses one standard example of grammaticalization (the Romance future), and gives a less standard analysis of another well-known case (the have-be auxiliary split), based on the author's original research. Lehmann's parameters of grammaticalization are presented, and the balance between semantic generalization and pragmatic strengthening is mentioned in connection with the grammaticalization of modals. The role of reanalysis, analogy, and frequency are also discussed, although due to space limitation, the illustration of the conceptual problems involved is quite compressed. Two sections present the connection of grammaticalization studies with research on diachronic universals, and the debate on the directionality of grammaticalization, and the existence of anti- / de- grammaticalization processes. There is, however, an aspect of the discussion that I find seriously underdeveloped and biased, but for this you have to read my next post...
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