On decategorization and its relevance in German

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A distinction must be made between two different processes – decategorization and recategorization – (cf. Malchukov 2004), within the general phenomenon of transcategorization (cf. among others Simone 2008; Jezek & Ramat 2009). In particular, one may expect that losing certain word class properties does not necessarily amount to acquiring a new set. This chapter focuses on a discussion of decategorization based on data from German. I argue that this language is particularly rich in decategorization types that are commonly found in the right branch of the so-called verbal bracket and cannot be treated as a recessive feature resulting from a general trend towards analyticity. They rather constitute a peculiar trait of the discontinuous German language type, in which the right branch of the verbal bracket is characterized by low categoriality.


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