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Review of  Grammaticalization

Reviewer: Ioana-Rucsandra Dascalu
Book Title: Grammaticalization
Book Author: Paul J. Hopper Elizabeth Closs Traugott
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories
Anthropological Linguistics
Issue Number: 15.2833

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Date: Sat, 9 Oct 2004 01:46:01 -0400 (EDT)
From: Ioana-Ruxandra Dascalu
Subject: Grammaticalization, 2nd edition

AUTHOR: Hopper, Paul J.; & Traugott, Elizabeth Closs
TITLE: Grammaticalization, Second Edition
SERIES: Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics
PUBLISHER: Cambridge University Press
YEAR: 2003

Ioana-Ruxandra Dascalu, University of Craiova, Romania

This is a monograph about grammaticalization, which analyzes the
process from both a historical and synchronic perspective (involving
pragmatics and syntax), emphasizing the major mechanisms of linguistic
variation and change . The authors are Paul J. Hopper, Paul Mellon
Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Carnegie Mellon University and
Elizabeth Closs Traugott, Professor of Linguistics and English at
Stanford University. The first edition of the book was published in

The authors propose a revised and updated second edition of a
successful book Grammaticalization, which deals with a process of
historical as well as synchronic linguistics "whereby lexical items and
constructions come in certain linguistic contents to serve grammatical
functions, and, once grammaticalized, continue to develop new
grammatical functions" (p. xv); they encounter cases of lexical words,
that become auxiliaries, of nominal adpositions that become case
markers, when, as an evolution of the grammatical forms, the lexical
character of a lexeme turns into a grammatical one.

The first part of the book (Chapter I Some preliminaries, pp. 1-17 and
Chapter II The History of Grammaticalization, pp. 19-38) appeals to
definitions and terms with an important role in grammaticalization: a
crucial distinction is made between content words, that is to say words
with lexical properties and function words, that accomplish grammatical
functions; the transformation of a lexical word into a grammatical one
represents the process of grammaticalization itself.

According to the role of the grammatical forms, they classify words
into several categories: words with phonetic and syntactic
independence, derivational forms, clitics, items which are constrained
to occur next to an autonomous word, in a cline, that is to say a
pathway from content items to grammatical words, to clitics and
inflectional affixes, in an evolution from less grammatical to more
grammatical elements.

After a stage-setting introduction, the authors sketch a historical
profile of the studies concerning grammaticalizations, from Humboldt's
linguistic typologies (isolating, agglutinative, inflectional or
synthetic languages) to the first denomination of the process in
Meillet's L'évolution des formes grammaticales (1912) and the most
recent researches from the 60s to the 90s, in Hock's Principles of
Historical Linguistics, Givon's On Understanding Grammar, Lehmann's
Thoughts on Grammaticalization and Traugott and Heine's Approaches to
Grammaticalization. Lehmann establishes a series of parameters of
grammaticalization, both on the paradigmatic (weight, cohesiveness,
freedom of selection) and on the syntagmatic axis (scope/structural
size of a construction, degree of bounding, degree to which elements
may be moved) (p. 30).

The next chapters (Chapter III, Mechanisms: reanalysis and analogy, pp.
39-70; and Chapter IV, Pragmatic factors, pp. 71-98) discuss the causes
and mechanisms of linguistic change, namely reanalysis, as a process in
which old structures are replaced by new ones (e.g. when the hearer
understands a form to have a structure and a meaning that are different
from those of the speaker, p. 50) and analogy, which refers to the
attraction of extant forms to already existing constructions (p. 63).
Pragmatic factors are discussed together with facts of language
acquisition, as well as metaphoric cognitive processes, such as the
description of space in terms of an object or of time in terms of

Another controversial issue related to grammaticalization is the
hypothesis of unidirectionality (Chapter V, pp. 99-139) which depicts
it as an one-way phenomenon, containing two sides: specialization in
use, divergence (when one form preserves its characteristics, while the
other becomes more grammatical) and renewal, when old forms are renewed
by new ones. The conceptual frame that describes all these processes is
called layering or variability. There are however linguists, who claim
that grammaticalization is not a irreversible process; they encounter
opposite phenomena like degrammaticalization, lexicalization and
decliticization. (see Ch. Lehmann 2.3.).

Chapter VI, Clause-internal morphological changes, pp. 140-174; and
Chapter VII, Grammaticalization across clauses, pp. 173-211, account
for the properties of clitics, as well as for the ways of linking

Cliticization is a particular case of grammaticalization, whereby
independent elements become bound elements like clitics and affixes,
that attach to accentuated lexical items (e.g. lat. 'que' gr. 'de' or
the development of clause linkers out of nouns, verbs, adverbs,
pronouns). The evolution from clitics to inflections (lexical item >
clitic > affix) is called morphologization, events which transform an
autonomous unbound lexical item into an affix (e.g. the
grammaticalization of the Latin form -mente into an adverbial suffix in
the Romance languages). According to their position, clitics are
divided into three categories: phrasal clitics (such as possessive
pronouns, auxiliaries), proclitics (which are attached to the following
element) and enclitics (which are attached at the end of the stressed
lexical item). The development of clitics is followed by the evolution
of clause linkers (in parataxis, hypotaxis and subordination), with
emphasis upon clause linkage markers and their sources in nouns, verbs,
adverbs, pronouns (pp. 184 ff.)

The final part of the book (Chapter VIII, Grammaticalization in
situations of extreme language contact, pp. 212-230, focuses upon the
study of grammaticalization in language contact, with emphasis on the
characteristics of pidgins as mixed languages, derived from the
superstrate language and on the features of creoles as more complex
languages from the syntactic point of view; they offer interesting
results for the conceptualization of linguistic progression, due to
internal factors (such as child acquisition) and external factors (such
as language contact). A series of features are enumerated, concerning
tense marking, articles and determiners, Tense-Mood-Aspect system.

This is an introductory reading indispensable for all those who study
historical linguistics. The handbook gathers the main key-notions
concerning grammaticalization, analyzed with generative methods, as
well as with sociolinguistic, semantic and pragmatic criteria. The
second edition published in 2003 is updated and renewed with
information about the unidirectionality and the role of
grammaticalization in creolization.

Heine, B., U. Claudi, F. Hunnemeyer. 1991. Grammaticalization: a
Conceptual Framework. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

Lehmann, Ch. 1995. Thoughts on Grammaticalization. Munich: Lincom

Meillet, A. 1958. Linguistique historique et linguistique générale.
Paris. Champion

Wischer, I., G. Diewald, eds. 2002. New Reflections on
Grammaticalization. Proceedings from the International Symposium on
Grammaticalization, Potsdam, Germany. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Ioana-Ruxandra Dascalu studied Classical Philology and Literary Theory
at the University of Bucharest, Romania. Her main research interests go
to Latin linguistics (including theories of Functional Grammar),
historical linguistics (especially the evolution from Latin to Romance
languages), general linguistics, French linguistics (modalities,
semantics and pragmatics), and intertextuality in ancient and modern

Format: Paperback
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Pages: 296
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Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0521009480
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Pages: 296
Prices: U.S. $ 70
U.K. £ 50