"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
Grammaticalization is a uni-directional process in which lexical items acquire grammatical functions and grammatical items expressing semantic functions acquire more abstract semantic or pragmatic functions. In this process formal changes are secondary to functional changes in the sense that changed forms reflect contentive change. Although this process is gradual, we believe that focal points can be identified and defined in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions.