The lexicalization-grammaticalization-pragmaticalization interface

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This paper reports on a corpus investigation of Mainland Scandinavian expressions meaning &#8216;I think&#8217; 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 &#8216;problematic&#8217; properties of <i>I think</i> provide good reasons to postulate a separate process of pragmaticalization for the rise of discourse markers.


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