The phenomenon that lexical items and such elements of language structure as word order or prosodic contrasts may secondarily acquire a grammatical function has been repeatedly noticed by linguists since the very beginning of the scientific study of language. The notion of such developments already played an important role in formulating hypotheses about possible prehistory of languages such as Sanskrit in the middle of the 19th century. However, the realization of the extent to which grammaticalization may be shaping the grammars of natural languages regardless of genetic and areal affiliations is a comparatively recent insight, which seems to coincide roughly with the recent re-establishment of language change as an ontologically independent object of linguistic study. Since the early 1980s grammaticalization has increasingly attracted the attention of scholars working on different languages within different intellectual traditions and theoretical approaches to language evolution. It may be safe to state that the amount of information on grammaticalization and related phenomena accumulated so far can hardly be comprehensively overviewed by a single scholar. The general idea of The Oxford Handbook of Grammaticalization , which belongs to a series of handbooks on different subfields of linguistics, is precisely to provide the scholarly community
Language Dynamics and Change – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2014
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