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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Query Details

Query Subject:   Innovation of Functional Categories
Author:   Juergen Bohnemeyer
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Historical Linguistics

Query:   I'm looking for examples of functional categories - semantic distinctions
expressed by inflections and/or function words - that were clearly
innovated in a given language (family) at some point in a narrow sense
of the term 'innovation'. Specifically, I'm interested in cases that fulfill
both of the following criteria:

(i) One or more members of the particular language family at some
point grammaticalized a functional category that is not evidenced or
cannot be reconstructed in the common ancestor of the family

(ii) This grammaticalization was not in any obvious way contact-
induced; i.e., there is no conclusive evidence and no obvious candidate
for a model from which the newly minted category could have been

To put this another way, you could say that what I'm looking for are
neologisms of grammar. I will post a summary of the responses should
the responses warrant this.
LL Issue: 22.2641
Date posted: 24-Jun-2011


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