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Review of  The Oxford Handbook of Grammaticalization

Reviewer: Paul Isambert
Book Title: The Oxford Handbook of Grammaticalization
Book Author: Heiko Narrog Bernd Heine
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics
Linguistic Theories
Book Announcement: 23.2993

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EDITORS: Heiko Narrog and Bernd Heine
TITLE: The Oxford Handbook of Grammaticalization
SERIES TITLE: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics
PUBLISHER: Oxford University Press
YEAR: 2011


The volume is made of 65 short (12 pages on average) chapters, organized in five
parts, from the more general considerations to the more specific observations
(on particular languages). Given the number of chapters and their length, I'll
provide only brief summaries to let the reader get an idea of the content of the
book; however, it should be noted that I cannot do justice to subtleties, and
more often than not the summaries are just pale copies of what the chapters
really contain. I have nonetheless elected to write a notice for each chapter
instead of a general summary of each part, thus trying to communicate some of
the volume's richness.

1. Heiko Narrog and Bernd Heine, ''Introduction.'' The editors discuss
grammaticalization at large, summarizing current advances and problems in its
definition and delimitation, field of application, and methods.


The chapters in this section address the theoretical side of grammaticalization:
its very definition (especially with respect to other types of change), its
relation to existing linguistic theories (construction grammar, generativism,
etc.) and domains (sociolinguistics, language acquisition, etc.). Some chapters
stress the strong ties between grammaticalization and the subject matters (e.g.
usage-based theories) as well as lesser (though desirable) bonds (e.g. with
sociolinguistics), whereas others investigates mere parallels or the influence
of grammaticalization on other fields.

2. Elizabeth Closs Traugott, ''Grammaticalization and mechanisms of change.'' A
discussion of the association between grammaticalization and reanalysis,
analogy, and frequency, addressing the question of whether or not
grammaticalization is a specific process.

3. Olga Fischer, ''Grammaticalization as analogically driven change?'' The
author contends that grammaticalization is a diachronic process from the
analyst's point of view only; for the speaker/listener, i.e. synchronically,
the mechanism involved is analogy.

4. Elly van Gelderen, ''Grammaticalization and generative grammar: a difficult
liaison.'' An account of the relation between generativism and historical
linguistics in general and grammaticalization in particular, from initial
rejection (due to deep conflicts in both principles and methods) to the current

5. Peter Harder and Kasper Boye, ''Grammaticalization and functional
linguistics.'' The authors make a distinction between discursively primary, i.e.
lexical, expressions and discursively secondary, i.e. grammatical, expressions;
the former can also be used as secondary expressions, and grammaticalization
occurs when they are coded (instead of simply used) as such.

6. Joan L. Bybee, ''Usage-based theory and grammaticalization.'' The author
stresses the crucial role of frequency in grammaticalization and how it shapes
the gradual nature of linguistic categories. Frequency explains why
grammaticalization is overwhelmingly unidirectional: automation, habituation,
etc., work in one direction.

7. Ronald W. Langacker, ''Grammaticalization and Cognitive Grammar.'' An
exploratory account of grammaticalization phenomena in terms of cognitive
grammar, the lexical-to-grammatical cline linking conceptual archetypes to basic
mental activities.

8. Nikolas Gisborne and Amanda Patten, ''Construction grammar and
grammaticalization.'' The authors investigate whether constructions in the
theoretical sense of construction grammar, not the pre-theoretical sense of many
grammaticalization studies (where the term stands for the context where an item
occur), do grammaticalize, and they answer in the positive. They also argue that
the organization of constructions (a hierarchy with inheritance) is a valuable
tool for grammaticalization studies.

9. Walter Bisang, ''Grammaticalization and linguistic typology.'' The author
argues that grammaticalization is not a homogeneous phenomenon
cross-linguistically, especially with respect to the co-evolution of meaning and
form. He makes a plea for a typology of manifestations of grammaticalization
(which should also be able to identify areal influence).

10. Terttu Nevalainen and Minna Palander-Collin, ''Grammaticalization and
sociolinguistics.'' The authors advocate the use of sociolinguistic
investigation in grammaticalization studies, which are generally content with
simple diachronic correspondences; social variables (including gender and age)
can shed light on how and how fast some changes occur.

11. Holger Diessel, ''Grammaticalization and language acquisition.'' A study of
the similarity and differences between language change and ontogeny, arguing
that the similarities stem from the same mechanism of categorization being at
work, while the differences refute the idea that acquisition repeats evolution
or that change originates in acquisition.

12. Andrew D. M. Smith, ''Grammaticalization and language evolution.'' The
author describes communication (not necessarily linguistic) as the hearer
inferring meaning from what the speaker says, and reinterprets metaphor and
reanalysis in such a light, leading to hypotheses on the emergence of language.

13. Östen Dahl, ''Grammaticalization and linguistic complexity.'' A discussion
of complexity, both systematic (a measure of how much must be learned to master
a language) and structural (the complexity of the representation of utterances),
and how it is affected by grammaticalization.

14. Kersti Börjars and Nigel Vincent, ''Grammaticalization and directionality.''
A review of various reported counterexamples to unidirectionality, and how most
of them can be shown not to hold; the authors also review some explanations for

15. Marianne Mithun, ''Grammaticalization and explanation.'' The author shows
how syntactic analyses in synchrony of the Navajo verb are unsuccessful, whereas
grammaticalization accounts for its organization (innermost morphemes being the
most grammaticalized ones) and explains the many perceived oddities.

16. Brian D. Joseph, ''Grammaticalization: a general critique.'' A critique of
grammaticalization seen as an independent mechanism of change (rather than being
made of other, well-attested processes), of its arbitrary focus on certain
changes, and of the unidirectionality hypothesis; the author also casts doubt on
the notion of contact-induced grammaticalization.


In this part of the volume, what can and/or should be done with
grammaticalization itself is put under scrutiny. In particular (but not
exclusively), quantitative methods based on massive corpora are advocated, and
the attention is drawn on the importance of language contact.

17. Shana Poplack, ''Grammaticalization and linguistic variation.'' The author
investigates how variation theory may benefit to grammaticalization studies,
using statistical methods to analyze contexts and drawing attention to competing
forms; the analysis relativizes the universality of grammaticalization paths by
unveiling important differences in the details, if not in the endpoints.

18. Rena Torres Cacoullos and James A. Walker, ''Collocations in
grammaticalization and variation.'' A corpus-based analysis of collocations that
demonstrates how they interact with associated, more schematic constructions. It
is also shown that collocational status is a gradient property, shaped in part
by the context.

19. Christian Mair, ''Grammaticalization and corpus linguistics.'' A plea for
quantitative analysis based on massive corpora in grammaticalization studies in
order to test hypotheses against significant amounts of data, and especially to
assess the exact role of frequency.

20. Helena Raumolin-Brunberg and Arja Nurmi, ''Grammaticalization and language
change in the individual.'' After stating that grammaticalization follows the
same patterns as the changes most commonly studied by sociolinguistics, the
authors analyze individual differences among speakers of similar backgrounds and
show that they do not always follow the general trend.

21. Bernd Kortmann and Agnes Schneider, ''Grammaticalization in non-standard
varieties of English.'' A comparison of grammaticalization across low- and
high-contact L1 English, L2 English and English-based pidgins and/or creoles.
The authors show that no difference in patterns occur across languages, but that
contact-induced change is an extremely important factor.

22. Yaron Matras, ''Grammaticalization and language contact.'' The author
analyzes the mechanism by which a structure is replicated from one language to
another, and hypothesizes that the process is driven by the speaker making
optimal use of all the systems s/he knows while trying to meet the
interlocutor's expectations with respect to the choice of words.

23. Bernd Heine and Tania Kuteva, ''The areal dimension of grammaticalization.''
The authors introduce various cases of grammaticalization (concerning especially
articles and future tense) thought to be due to language contact, leading to the
concept of grammaticalization areas, where possibly unrelated languages share
grammatical changes.

24. Béatrice Lamiroy and Walter De Mulder, ''Degrees of grammaticalization
across languages.'' A comparison of French, Italian and Spanish, with respect to
areas of grammar (auxiliaries, demonstratives, etc.) where grammaticalization
has occurred but to different degrees, supporting the idea that some languages
(here French, and then Italian) are further advanced in this evolution than others.

25. Heiko Narrog and Johan van der Auwera, ''Grammaticalization and semantic
maps.'' A presentation of semantic maps and how they can be used in
grammaticalization studies if they are ''dynamicized'', i.e. arrows indicating
time are added to them; those maps embed hypotheses that can then be empirically


The chapters in this section deal with some general aspects of
grammaticalization (such as erosion, affixation), its relation to other types of
change (e.g. lexicalization), and the reasons why grammaticalization occur
(including the role of pragmatics, interactions).

26. Anne Wichmann, ''Grammaticalization and prosody.'' The author contends that
the phonetic erosion traditionally associated with grammaticalization is a
secondary phenomenon actually resulting from prosodic changes, more grammatical
items having less semantic weight and thus reduced prosodic salience.

27. Martin Haspelmath, ''The gradual coalescence into 'words' in
grammaticalization.'' The author shows that the word/clitic/affix distinction
relies on several criteria that do not necessarily concur, so that reanalysis
should be understood as a gradual process, so much so that the traditional
syntax vs. morphology distinction seems quite doubtful.

28. Ilse Wischer, ''Grammaticalization and word formation.'' A comparison of
derivational and inflectional affixes, trying to assess the relation of the
former to grammaticalization. The author concludes that such a relation does
exist, blurring the distinction between lexicon and grammar.

29. Scott DeLancey, ''Grammaticalization and syntax: a functional view.'' The
author contends that linguistic forms are motivated and that grammaticalization
is the process by which motivation is lost; what then is universal in languages
is grammaticalization pathways, not syntactic categories, whose discreteness is
always belied by data.

30. Chaofen Sun and Elizabeth Closs Traugott, ''Grammaticalization and word
order change.'' Although word order change is not thought to be a case of
grammaticalization, the authors show that they do interact, and that it explains
why word order is never completely regular, some areas of grammar evolving
independently of others.

31. Regine Eckardt, ''Grammaticalization and semantic change.'' The author
accounts for what she calls ''semantic reanalysis'' with the tools of formal
semantics as well as Gricean pragmatics, hypothesizing that speakers/hearers
obey the principle of compositionality, yet are led to solve semantic equations
which assign new meanings to items.

32. Steve Nicolle, ''Pragmatic aspects of grammaticalization.'' The author
addresses the subject matter with the tools of Relevance Theory and contends
that grammaticalization occurs when an expression encoding procedural
information and inferential meaning is conventionalized. In that process,
contexts are crucial but need not be ambiguous.

33. Richard Waltereit, ''Grammaticalization and discourse.'' The author
interprets grammaticalization (and pragmaticalization) of items as the outcome
of rhetorical uses of those items. In other words, it is use in discourse by
adults (instead of imperfect acquisition by children) which is the driving force
behind the evolution of grammar.

34. Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen, ''Grammaticalization and conversation.'' An
analysis of bipartite structures like left extraction, concessive subordination
and extraposition as originating in the coalescence of frequent conversational

35. Douglas Lightfoot, ''Grammaticalization and lexicalization.'' The author
recounts the uneasy treatment of lexicalization by grammaticalization scholars,
and points to the difficulty of settling on a common definition. The issue is
complicated by the fact that grammaticalization and lexicalization share some
features, while differences are based on uncertain grounds (e.g. lexical vs.
grammatical morphemes).

36. Gabriele Diewald, ''Grammaticalization and pragmaticalization.'' The authors
show that pragmaticalization, a term often used to denote e.g. the evolution of
discourse markers, is virtually identical to grammaticalization, but has been
unduly distinguished from it to maintain the notion of core grammar. If the
crucial pragmatic meaning (denoting indexical relations) of grammatical signs is
properly understood, then such a distinction vanishes.

37. John Haiman, ''Iconicity versus grammaticalization: a case study.'' An
illustration of the decrease of iconicity in constructions due to
grammaticalization, based on an analysis of ''why''-clauses in Hua and Khmer:
originally the ''why''-expression is quite transparent, but is obscured by
phonetic and syntactic change.

38. Muriel Norde, ''Degrammaticalization.'' A typology of changes reverse to
grammaticalization, evaluated with respect to common criteria for such change:
semantic and/or phonological loss (here: gain), place in a paradigm (here:
greater variability), syntactic reduction (here: freer morphemes). The author
hypothesizes that degrammaticalization remains so rare because the source items
have, by definition, little substance to work on.


This section deals with the evolution of a wide range of restricted domains of
grammar; some chapters are reviews of frequent pathways while others focus more
precisely on case studies. In all, though, theoretical considerations are
downplayed to show grammaticalization at work.

39. Elly van Gelderen, ''The grammaticalization of agreement.'' An illustration
of the linguistic cycle (how languages change between analytic and synthetic)
with the evolution from pronouns to agreement markers; the author shows that
subjects evolve so more regularly, and 1st and 2nd person pronouns before 3rd
person pronouns.

40. Paolo Ramat, ''Adverbial grammaticalization.'' The author argues that while
the cognitive category ''adverbiality'' is present in all languages, it is not
always realized as prototypical adverbs; and that in those languages where
adverbs clearly exist, only productive word formation rule (e.g. suffixes like
English ''-ly'') are the outcome of grammaticalization.

41. Christa König, ''The grammaticalization of adpositions and case marking.'' A
study of how case develops and its interaction with definiteness or information
structure; more generally, the author illustrates how difficult it is to assess
whether a language has case or not.

42. Walter De Mulder and Anne Carlier, ''The grammaticalization of definite
articles.'' A detailed account of how definite articles emerge from (generally
distal) demonstratives and then later possibly evolve into noun phrase markers.

43. Björn Wiemer, ''The grammaticalization of passives.'' A study of how
passives form, i.e. which full verbs are likely candidates to be grammaticalized
into passive markers and which markers are recruited to express the demoted agent.

44. Manfred Krug, ''Auxiliaries and grammaticalization.'' The author studies the
properties of auxiliaries, from their origins as full lexical verbs to their
existence as more or less free morphemes; the usual (synchronic) definitions are
shown to run into troubles that can be explained if diachrony is taken into account.

45. Laurel J. Brinton, ''The grammaticalization of complex predicates.'' A study
of verbal constructions like ''take a look'' showing that some have evolved via
lexicalization while others can be described in terms of grammaticalization, as
evidenced by their additional abstract meaning (in the domain of aspect).

46. Maj-Britt Mosegaard Hansen, ''Negative cycles and grammaticalization.'' The
author reexamines Jespersen's cycle on the renewal of markers of negation and
shows the difficulties one encounters when applying it to various languages; she
also tries to assess what part of that cycle can be analyzed as grammaticalization.

47. Kees Hengeveld, ''The grammaticalization of tense and aspect.'' An
interpretation of the evolution of tense and aspect in terms of scope increase
(and position relative to the predicate): lexical verbs turn to aspect markers,
which then evolve into tense markers.

48. Debra Ziegeler, ''The grammaticalization of modality.'' The author presents
accounts of the evolution of modality, from metaphor-based to pragmatic,
inference-based approaches, and then shows that fine distinction in modality
can't always be applied cross-linguistically but that the crucial point is the
speaker's commitment to the utterance.

49. Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, ''The grammaticalization of evidentiality.'' A
review of the sources of evidential markers across languages: they may come
directly from lexical items (verbs of speech or perception, deictics, locatives)
but also from reanalysis of discourse patterns like tense or desubordination of
complement clauses.

50. Noriko O. Onodera, ''The grammaticalization of discourse markers.'' The
author advocates the idea that discourse markers evolve by grammaticalization
(not pragmaticalization conceived as a separate process), and that they
universally tend toward the initial position of the utterance (although they may
also be used finally).

51. Zygmunt Frajzyngier, ''Grammaticalization of reference systems.'' Taking
''grammaticalization'' as the coding of a function in grammar, the author
reviews various means to encode reference: deictics, determiners, existential
verbs, gender, etc. combined with e.g. word order or the absence of marking.

52. Toshio Ohori, ''The grammaticalization of subordination.'' The author
reviews how complement, relative, and adverbial clauses evolve out of various
constructions (the verb ''say'', demonstratives, full nouns, etc.), and what
each type turns into when it grammaticalize further (e.g. complementizers often
come to denote purpose).

53. Guy Deutscher, ''The grammaticalization of quotatives.'' The author
distinguishes between speech-introducing clauses and quotative markers proper
and shows, with examples from Akkadian, how the former are grammaticalized into
the latter, which themselves sometimes evolve further into complementizer or

54. Anna Giacalone Ramat and Caterina Mauri, ''The grammaticalization of
coordinating interclausal connectives.'' After distinguishing conjunctive and
disjunctive connectives on the one hand and adversative connectives on the other
with respect to their resistance to change, the authors review the common
sources of those markers and how they grammaticalize, despite not displaying all
the the usual symptoms (somehow like discourse markers).

55. Sandra A. Thompson and Ryoko Suzuki, ''The grammaticalization of final
particles.'' Based on English and Japanese data, the authors show how
interclausal markers (e.g. ''but'') evolve into pragmatic markers in final
position, and how the evolution depends on interaction and affects prosody.


Chapters in the volume's last section give an overview of grammaticalization
processes across various languages and language families, thus illustrating many
of the discussions in the preceding chapters and pointing to widespread pathways
as well as less common developments.

56. Roland Pfau and Markus Steinbach, ''Grammaticalization in sign languages.''
The authors present developments in sign languages which are similar to spoken
languages (e.g. from lexical verbs to aspectual markers) and modality-specific
development like the grammaticalization of gestures not previously lexicalized.

57. Bernd Heine, ''Grammaticalization in African languages.'' The author present
a few pathways frequently (though not exclusively) found in African languages,
like body part to adposition; he also advocates the idea that grammaticalization
allows one to reconstruct earlier states of a language and also explain some of
its present properties.

58. Martin Hilpert, ''Grammaticalization in Germanic languages.'' An
introduction to common pathways in Germanic languages, a family with a rich
tradition of written records allowing quantitative analysis; the author presents
instances of the grammaticalization of passive, articles, auxiliaries, and
discourse markers.

59. Adam Ledgeway, ''Grammaticalization from Latin to Romance.'' A review of the
major changes in the evolution from Latin to modern Romance languages: the loss
of case and the development of articles, the rise of auxiliaries, and the change
in word order from relatively free to mostly fixed SVO, via V2.

60. Mário Eduardo T. Martelotta and Maria Maura Cezario, ''Grammaticalization in
Brazilian Portuguese.'' A review of various evolutions in the subject language,
from pronouns (related to the simplification of the verbal system) to
auxiliaries and connectives, illustrating frequent grammaticalization pathways.

61. Björn Wiemer, ''Grammaticalization in Slavic languages.'' The author reviews
various changes occurred in the development of the Slavic family, especially in
the verbal domain, and assesses to what extent they can be accounted for in
terms of grammaticalization.

62. Lars Johanson, ''Grammaticalization in Turkic languages.'' A list of
attested grammaticalization paths in the Turkic family, including evolutions
from adjectives, nouns, postpositions, lexical verbs, and converb constructions,
and also markers of unknown origin.

63. Seongha Rhee, ''Grammaticalization in Korean.'' The author illustrates the
effect of grammaticalization on an agglutinating language like Korean, where
dramatic erosion makes markers with similar histories look unrelated; the author
also stresses the importance of analogy and its effect on paradigmatic change or

64. Heiko Narrog and Toshio Ohori, ''Grammaticalization in Japanese.'' The
authors review a few evolutions in Japanese (various suffixes, case particles,
noun classifiers, ...) and stress the relevance of the language for
grammaticalization studies, given that it is one of the non-Indo-European
languages with the richest historical records and grammaticalized items are
generally quite noticeable.

65. Hilary Chappell and Alain Peyraube, ''Grammaticalization in Sinitic
languages.'' A detailed account of the evolution of disposal constructions,
passives, causative and classifiers in Sinitic languages, illustrating pathways
typical to those languages (e.g. comitatives to direct object markers).
Incidentally, the authors quote a precursor to a well-known motto for students
of grammaticalization, reported here to round off this summary: ''today's empty
words are all former full words'' (Zhou Boqi, fourteenth century).


[Note: Numbers in parentheses refer to chapters in the previous summary.]

For more than ten years, grammaticalization has been criticized for various
reasons: it is not a theory, it is not even a phenomenon but a collection of
well-studied phenomena (semantic and phonetic change), one of its main claims
(unidirectionality) is plainly false, it gives the wrong impression that
language structures evolve by themselves over time like organisms (instead of
being replicated across generations), etc. Those criticisms were collected in a
well-known issue of _Language Science_ (Campbell, 2001). At best,
grammaticalization points to interesting developments and rightfully stresses
the role of constructions over lexical items (at least in its latest
incarnation) (Joseph, 2004). The question, then, is: do we need a handbook?
Does grammaticalization deserve it? In other words: Isn't this volume just an
opportunist publication on a hot yet empty topic?

The strength of the book, and part of its justification, is to offer multiple
viewpoints, including critical voices -- and not only the expected ones. It is
of course important to offer a chapter to Brian D. Joseph for a ''general
critique'' (16) or to Muriel Norde on degrammaticalization (38); but to me the
main import of the book is to show what grammaticalization studies could gain
from such approaches as sociolinguistics (10 and others), massive quantitative
analysis (19 and others) or variation theory (17 and others). In other words,
this volume is not an uncritical praise of grammaticalization; on the contrary,
it shows that it is a boiling field where many new and less new ideas meet. In
that respect, it is an extremely important step and will provide food for
thought to students of the field, opening new horizons and leading to new
questions. No wonder that the book is made of many short chapters, with very
precise subjects; thus many authors (both old hands and young researchers) can
address many issues and invite the reader to further reading. In many cases the
reader looking for answers will be confronted with more questions. For instance,
in the opening chapter (2) after the editors' introduction, Elizabeth Traugott
raises issues (about the relation between grammaticalization and change in
general) rather than she giving ready-made answers; in the following chapter
(3), Olga Fischer directly challenges the common view on grammaticalization.
Note that most of the ideas expressed in this volume can be found elsewhere; yet
bringing them all together makes this book stand out as what it is supposed to
be: a reference work.

However, all that would be good but somewhat pointless if grammaticalization
studies did not bring some results; and the volume provides that, too. Of course
you'll find the ''classics'': the development of auxiliaries (44, but mentioned
in many other chapters), articles (42, same remark), discourse markers (50, same
remark), and many more. But perhaps grammaticalization studies will be absorbed
back into historical linguistics; however, the main point may lie elsewhere,
namely in synchronic studies: what grammaticalization tells us is that language
systems are shaped by history, so that irregularities shouldn't be conceived as
exceptions, even in that domain where categorical thinking has often ruled
unquestioned, ''core grammar'', which probably does not exist to begin with. The
ideas that there is no clear-cut distinction between grammar and the lexicon,
that syntactic categories are fuzzy, or that subsystems of grammar are better
accounted for in terms of historical developments rather than general rules, are
expressed many, many times across the chapters of the book (see in particular
Marianne Mithun's account of the Navajo verb, chapter 15). Even the universality
of the grammaticalization paths are not left unquestioned (see e.g. 18).

To this reviewer's perhaps opinionated view, this means that the distinction
between diachrony and synchrony cannot hold as a working principle anymore. Of
course, Saussure's point that speakers do not know the history of their language
remains valid; but structuralism doesn't flow naturally from that; instead,
speakers are able to learn and master a system with many irregularities and
constant variation. It is no wonder that grammaticalization students have found
an ally in construction grammar in recent years (8), and in usage-based theories
more generally (6): the lexicon-grammar continuum, the crucial role of
generalization, the importance of frequency, are all common concerns.
(Nonetheless, in line with what has already been said about the book's
diversity, other approaches are also represented, including the formal breed,
see 4 and 31 among others.) No wonder either that links with data-driven
methodologies (corpora, social interactions, variation, etc.) are drawn or
called for repeatedly in this volume: just like grammaticalization emphasizes
that grammars are cultural, hence historical, systems, those approaches rest on
the basic yet oft-despised assumption that to understand language, you have to
look at it; and they also remind grammaticalization theorists that languages are
not living organisms and do not change by themselves.

There would be much more to say about this volume, much to discuss in the
individual chapters; there are many points I'd like to debate and many more I'd
like to stress. But such a review is impossible, and I've been trying to judge
the book as a whole instead (and even in doing so I've been forced to ignore
many aspects). Speaking of which, I must signal a few flaws in the editing: the
references have some typographic problems (e.g. an author's name is replaced
with a rule instead of being repeated, but it sometimes shows up again with no
good reason, including no page break); some of the works quoted in the main text
are absent of the bibliography; a few typos can be spotted; more surprising,
there is a footnote call on page 776, but no footnote; and (this is addressed to
the publisher, not the editors) when phonetic notation is necessary, it would be
good to typeset a book with a font that contains the IPA, instead of changing
fonts mid-sentence (some people are annoyed by that!). As far as the content of
the book is concerned, I have only two remarks: first, perhaps a lengthier
introduction, introducing major definitions of grammaticalization, would have
been a good idea; second, many chapters address the same points, but while
references from one chapter to another do exist, they are far from systematic;
it is not so bad when you read the book from cover to cover in a short timespan,
but few readers are likely to do so and they'll probably miss interesting
remarks when researching a particular subjects.

All those flaws are minor, though, and hopefully will be corrected in a future
edition (at least those related to form). They definitely do not prevent me from
recommending this book to all students of grammar, either in diachrony or
synchrony. While Hopper and Traugott's (2003) classic introduction might suit
newcomers better, this volume should nonetheless be the next mandatory reading:
it hints at what grammaticalization studies will look like in the future.


Campbell, Lyle (ed.). 2001. Grammaticalization: A Critical Assessment. Special
issue of Language Science, 23(2-3).

Hopper, Paul J. & Elizabeth Closs Traugott. 2003. Grammaticalization, 2nd edn.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Joseph, Brian D. 2004. Rescuing Traditional (Historical) Linguistics from
Grammaticalization ''Theory''. In O. Fischer, M. Norde and H. Perridon (eds.) Up
and Down the Cline: The Nature of Grammaticalization. Amsterdam: John
Benjamins. 44-71.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER Paul Isambert holds a PhD from the University of Paris 3, France. He is currently working on grammaticalization of discourse markers.

Format: Hardback
ISBN: 0199586780
ISBN-13: 9780199586783
Pages: 952
Prices: U.K. £ 95.00