Questions tagged [grammaticalisation]

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How do new function words develop in a language?

It's very understandable how new content words emerge in a language, since we can see it happening constantly in the modern day. On the other hand, I have trouble imagining the process by which a word ...
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7 votes
2 answers
584 views

What does Eastern Aramaic have to say about "(definite) articles are acquired, not lost"?

The current answers on Definite/indefinite articles vs. inflections agree that (definite) articles are acquired by languages, not lost. I'm wondering what Eastern Aramaic has to say about this. ...
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5 votes
1 answer
1k views

Are there any examples of neopronouns for non-binary or third gender people being fully incorporated into a language's grammar?

Many non-binary people now request that new third person pronouns (neopronouns) be used to refer to them, for example xe or ze. These have not been widely used by English speakers yet, but it's still ...
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4 votes
2 answers
180 views

Is Russian "там [холодно]" a case of degrammaticalization?

In Russian, one can ask "там холодно?", literally is it cold there? and "там" is assumed to refer to outside (unless a suitable referent is in the context). The construction can be used in other ...
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  • 3,078
3 votes
3 answers
196 views

Is there a name for the phenomenon of some words being more deeply embedded in a language than others?

I'm wondering if there's a name for a phenomenon that I think of in the following way: Some words are far more deeply embedded within a language than others. I'm contrasting the words "do" and "...
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7 votes
1 answer
285 views

What are some common diachronic origins of interrogative pro-forms?

My impression is that, whereas the grammaticalisation pathways of personal pronouns, agreement markers, auxiliary verbs, case markers, etc. all seem well understood, we know much less about ...
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3 votes
0 answers
52 views

Is the TAM -> copula/'say'-word pathway attested elsewhere?

According to the work of philologists, the particles 曰 *[ɢ]ʷat, 于 *ɢʷ(r)a, 云 *[ɢ]ʷə[r] were aspect markers in Early Archaic Chinese, marking the 'prospective', continuous and 'actualising' aspects ...
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3 votes
2 answers
247 views

Is the English "because (noun)" an instance of grammaticalization?

This structure is often used recently (I think since mid-2012) in a sarcastic or humorous way, or to indicate that the reasoning is not sound. a) “Ok, I really want to hang with her because ...
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2 votes
2 answers
2k views

What is the difference between grammaticalization and grammaticization?

I have encountered two terms recently: grammaticalization and grammaticisation. While in most papers I have read so far both terms seem to be used interchangeably, the following paper appears to ...
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6 votes
0 answers
239 views

What languages use grammaticalized spoonerisms?

Here I define a "spoonerism" as the exchange of onset sounds between initially accented words in a phrase: "sh(oving l)eopard" instead of "loving shepherd" "f(ighting a l)iar" instead of "lighting a ...
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3 votes
1 answer
121 views

What are considered to be driving forces behind grammaticalization?

It is my understanding that grammaticalization is a fancy way of saying that words that contain a lexical meaning can change over time into words that gradually lose their lexical function, but then ...
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10 votes
1 answer
430 views

Grammaticalization of third person singular -s in English

Is there any evidence that the third person singular -s can be traced back to a lexical item before it became an inflection? I am trying to see if the theory of grammaticalization applies to its ...
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  • 101
13 votes
2 answers
3k views

Are any of the isolating languages of East Asia showing signs of gaining inflections?

It's generally accepted that languages go through a cycle of changes to their morphological type. English is losing its inflectional endings and becoming more isolating/analytic. But what about the ...
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