In grade school, no one would have ever guessed I'd grow up to become a linguist-- I was the kid who got Cs in French and couldn't produce a trill to save my life! I went to university majoring in civil engineering-- relieved that there was no language requirement for that major. But I ended up switching to geophysics, thinking that it would be less restrictive than engineering, and that it would allow me to spend more time in the mountains (which turned out to be wishful thinking)...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.