This article examines the grammaticalisation of adverbs. It surveys ways in which adverbs can come into existence: via affixation, via case suffixes, and with true grammaticalised derivators. It argues that not every process that produces an adverb is per se a grammaticalization process since adverb is a linguistic category which shows very different morphological behaviours. In addition, there are languages which have no morphological expression for such a category.
This chapter presents a critical overview of traditional and current approaches to analogical change, focusing on those aspects that are most directly relevant to historical phonology, including: the levelling and extension of morphophonological alternations; the interaction of sound change and analogy; morphologization and demorphologization; contamination; folk etymology; and phonetic analogy.
The article adopts terminology, concepts, and ideas developed in quantitative morphological typology (cf. Greenberg 1960) to investigate the coding of grammatical information in English diachrony. Specifically, we utilize a quantitative, language-internal measure of overt grammatical analyticity, defined as the text frequency of free grammatical markers, and a measure of overt grammatical syntheticity, defined as the text frequency of bound grammatical markers. We subsequently apply these measures to the Penn Parsed Corpora of Historical English series, which covers the period between circa 1100 and 1900, and demonstrate that this time slice does not exhibit a steady drift from synthetic to analytic.
This article illustrates the relationship between auxiliaries and grammaticalisation. It examines how grammaticalisation impacts on discussions and definitions of auxiliaries and how auxiliaries contribute to a better understanding of grammaticalization. It provides a description and definition of auxiliary verbs using functional approach and discusses the often cited characteristics of auxiliaries, many of which are of theoretical relevance to the study of grammaticalisation.
Gathic Avestan, the earliest documented form of Old Iranian, had a rich case system typical of archaic Indo-European languages: three genders, eight cases in the singular, a six-term plural, and a four-term dual. Old Persian, a somewhat later stage of Old Iranian, had already begun some case syncretisation with the old dative merging into the genitive. By the very earliest stages of Middle Persian and Parthian, gender and the dual were already completely lost and further stages of case syncretisation yielded a two-case system: the null-marked Direct case versus the Oblique case derived from the original genitive. Reduction or loss of case throughout Iranian and the emergence of numerous innovations have led to a bewildering array of compensating strategies whose evolution can be characterised by the interplay of three axes/dimensions: the Reduction Axis, the Innovation Axis, and the Nominal-Pronominal Axis. This article discusses the evolution of case in West Iranian languages, focusing on floating clitics and word order.
Case syncretism refers to the combination of multiple distinct case values in a single form. Distinct case values are determined on a language-specific basis, so that case syncretism by this definition involves an observable asymmetry between paradigms within a language. In the most obvious pattern, multiple case forms in one paradigm correspond to a single case form in another. Identifying a syncretic pattern as systematic still leaves open the question of which component of grammar encodes it, morphosyntax or morphology. The presence of case syncretism in a language implies the presence of syncretism involving the core cases somewhere in the system. The most widespread type of case syncretism, that of the core cases, may in many instances represent the outcome of desyntacticisation, that is, the morphologised relic of what was once an active syntactic rule. This article discusses case syncretism and diachrony.
Jill Bowie and Bas Aarts
This article explores recent grammatical change in the English perfect construction, with special focus on the infinitival perfect. Previous studies have typically drawn on written data, whereas this study reports on spoken data drawn from the Diachronic Corpus of Present-Day Spoken English, based at the Survey of English Usage, University College London. This is a parsed corpus of British English which includes a wide range of spoken genres and spans the period from the 1960s to the 1990s. First, the article compares the main inflectional subtypes of the perfect (present, past and infinitival) in terms of changing frequencies of use. Significant declines in frequency (measured per million words) are reported for the past perfect and infinitival perfect, while the present perfect appears stable. Next, the article focuses on the behaviour of the infinitival perfect in different grammatical contexts, showing that its decline within the context of a preceding modal auxiliary is independent of the declining frequency of modal auxiliaries themselves. The study shows the importance of considering changes in a linguistic category like the perfect in relation to its interaction with other categories such as morphological tense and modality.
Bettelou Los and Erwin Komen
Until the fifteenth century, English was considered a V2 (verb-second) language. The loss of a multifunctional first position that could host adverbials and objects as well as subjects, along with unmarked topics and focused material, paved the way for new constructions (clefts) and a redefinition of old positions (with the presubject position increasingly reserved for a subset of contrastive topics). This article explores the interaction between syntax and information structure and argues that the loss of V2 resulted in the loss of a first position capable of hosting contrastive constituents. It suggests that the cleft evolves as a resolution strategy and maneuvers contrastive constituents in a position that fits the new, rigid SVO order while retaining their information-structural status. The article also considers another area where clefts partly stepped in after syntactic loss related to V2 compromised the expression of contrast: Contrastive Left Dislocation (CLD).
Nikolas Gisborne and Amanda Patten
This article reviews literature on constructional change and its integration with grammaticalisation theory. It discusses a number of issues that are relevant to work on grammaticalisation and addresses several questions which fall out from a constructional view of grammaticalisation. It explores a constructional approach to grammaticalisation and the question of how constructions change and evaluates whether construction grammar is useful to linguists examining grammaticalisation changes to lexical items. It also considers the relationship between constructional change and the grammaticalisation of lexical items.
This article focuses on the status of degrammaticalisation in grammaticalisation studies. It describes the main similarities and differences between grammaticalisation and degrammaticalisation and outlines a typology of degrammaticalisation changes. It argues that there are three basic types of degrammaticalisation, which include degrammation, deinflectionalisation, and debonding. It contends that degrammaticalisation is a composite change whereby a gram in a specific context gains in autonomy or substance on more than one linguistic level.
This article considers diachronic collostructional analysis, a method for studying semantic and stylistic change in grammatical constructions, based on the Corpus of Historical American English (COHA). The term “collostructional analysis” refers to a family of methods used to study interrelations between grammatical constructions and their lexical collocates. Whereas much work in collostructional analysis has focused on verb-headed constructions, such as modal auxiliaries, causatives, the ditransitive construction, or the passive, relatively little attention has been paid to the nominal domain. This article focuses on the English many a noun construction, which undergoes a recessive change over the past two centuries and which has been chosen because it deviates from more canonical noun phrase patterns and shows several restrictions. First, determiners are not usually preceded by quantifiers. Second, the construction is limited to many; semantically related elements such as few, little, much, or lots do not form analogous patterns. Third, no elements may intervene between many and a.
This chapter takes a diachronic view of compounding. It looks both at the history of compounding in Indo-European, considering the origins of compounds, and at the treatment of compounding in the historical-comparative tradition.
Questions about diachronic change as it relates to tense and aspect (TA) range from the general, such as “How do TA systems come about?” and “How do TA systems change over time?,” to the more specific, such as “How do individual tense/aspect markers or particular temporal or aspectual distinctions arise?” and “How do tense/aspect markers change over time?” This article begins with a brief summary of how entire TA systems develop and change, before focusing on grammaticalization of tense and aspect markers. It then discusses desemanticization and decategorialization, source constructions in primary grammaticalization, secondary grammaticalization, grammaticalization chains, gradience and semantic retention, and diachronic change in tense and aspect induced by language contact.
New cases may arise by adding adverbs, postpositions, and (rarely) prepositions; by adding existing case markers to other case forms, which results in ‘multilayer’ case marking; from demonstrative pronouns or articles. New case forms may also go back to denominal adjectives and adverbials incorporated into the case paradigm. An important mechanism of the rise of new case(s) is the splitting of one case into two by borrowing of a new case marker from a different declension type. This article also discusses the main processes within case systems that do not lead to quantitative changes but help to resist phonetic erosion (stable case systems). The mechanisms used to avoid the merger of cases include the borrowing of new inflections from other cases and the adding of free morphemes to old case forms. On the basis of this diachronic typological overview, the article offers a tentative classification of the evolutionary types of languages and briefly explores the main factors determining the evolutionary type of a language.
The term “Great Complement Shift” (GCS) refers to the major changes that have occurred in English predicate complementation. The GCS is characterized by variation and change in a number of patterns of sentential complementation, especially the spread of to -ing complements at the expense of to infinitives. This article presents case studies of two matrix predicates—the adjective prone and the verb consent—that select both patterns today. It examines the variation and change affecting the grammar of these two words, as well as the competition between two patterns of complementation that are very dissimilar from a grammatical point of view. The article uses the TIME Corpus, representing a historical corpus of American English from the 1920s onwards, and the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA), representing a corpus of recent American English, for prone. Only COCA is used for consent.
Catherine Atherton and David Blank
A literary canon remained the core of élite education in Classical Antiquity for centuries, while the discipline of grammar emerged to produce correct texts, explain, and evaluate it. But it was to philosophy that grammarians owed, not merely powerful theories of language’s origins, functions, constituents, and structures, all formulated in a rich meta-language, but the very conception of linguistic phenomena – as constituting a fundamentally rational system – that makes expert or scientific knowledge of them possible. Grammatical interests, whether accounting for (apparent) departures from formal or syntactic regularity, determining both the correct reading of a disputed Homeric verse and the correct rules for such a procedure, or defining the parts of speech in a school primer, of course ousted the original philosophical contexts and purposes: when the Stoic Chrysippus advised using nannies who spoke pure Greek, his aim, probably, was to improve their charges’ souls, not their economic or social prospects.
This article analyses the relation between corpus linguistics and grammaticalisation. It shows how corpora and the use of corpus-linguistic methods enrich the empirical basis of grammaticalisation theory and, in some important instances, even help it to develop its theoretical foundations. The article discusses an incipient and hither to unrecorded instance of grammaticalisation in present-day English to test the potential of the corpus-linguistic working environment for the investigation of such difficult empirical cases. It also explains the three reasons for using corpora in research on grammaticalisation.
Kersti Börjars and Nigel Vincent
This article explores the relation between grammaticalisation and directionality. It evaluates the unidirectionality hypothesis which states that the changes which fall under the rubric of grammaticalisation always move in the direction from more to less lexical or from less to more grammatical. It highlights the usefulness of the apparent unidirectionality of grammaticalisation as a valuable tool for reconstruction in a domain, morphosyntax, where reconstruction has been frequently argued to be difficult if not impossible.