Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Cambridge University Press!


Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

We Have a New Site!

With the help of your donations we have been making good progress on designing and launching our new website! Check it out at!
***We are still in our beta stages for the new site--if you have any feedback, be sure to let us know at***

Academic Paper

Title: Structural persistence: a case based on the grammaticalization of English adjectives of difference
Author: Tine Breban
Institution: Université Catholique de Louvain
Linguistic Field: Morphology; Syntax
Subject Language: English
Abstract: In this article, it is proposed that processes of grammaticalization are determined and constrained not only by the source semantics of the grammaticalizing item, i.e. lexical persistence in the sense of Hopper (1991), but also by the original structure the item occurs in. This previously unrecognized feature of grammaticalization is referred to as structural persistence. The need to distinguish a structural equivalent to lexical persistence is argued on the basis of a particularly exemplary case, viz. the grammaticalization processes found with one lexically specific set of grammaticalizing elements in English, adjectives of difference such as other, different, various, etc. Before their grammaticalization, these adjectives occur in two different structural configurations, viz. (1) external comparison, in which the adjective describes a relation of difference between the referent of the noun phrase and a second, separately coded, entity, and (2) internal comparison, in which the entities that are said to be different are all denoted by the noun phrase containing the adjective. Even though they undergo the same general semantic process of grammaticalization and delexicalization in both structures, the adjectives acquire a different grammatical function in each of them. The different outcomes of the grammaticalization process can only be explained by relating them to the specific properties of the two source structures.


This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 13, Issue 1.

Return to TOC.

Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page