The lexicalization-grammaticalization-pragmaticalization interface
This paper reports on a corpus investigation of Mainland Scandinavian expressions meaning ‘I think’ and the lexicalization-grammaticalization-pragmaticalization interface. The discourse marker <i>I think </i>has been subsumed under lexicalization, grammaticalization and pragmaticalization. It can be conceived of as a formulaic token which is an argument in favor of lexicalization. It also has some prototypical properties of grammaticalization, but especially its optional character and syntactic freedom pose serious problems for a grammaticalization analysis. An account in terms of pragmaticalization is controversial because pragmaticalization is not a generally accepted type of language change in grammaticalization studies. I will argue that precisely the ‘problematic’ properties of <i>I think</i> provide good reasons to postulate a separate process of pragmaticalization for the rise of discourse markers.