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From reduction to emancipation

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Abstract

In this paper I propose an <i>emancipation effect</i> that may follow from the &#8216;reducing effect&#8217; of frequency (Bybee 2006): if a reduced realization of an item gains in frequency, it will become conceptually independent from the full form. In a context of grammaticalization, I show that this is the case for the form <i>gonna</i>, which is becoming emancipated from its source form <i>going to</i>. I use corpus data of spoken American English to trace the process of emancipation as <i>gonna</i> sheds off the features of phonetic reduction and acquires those of a lexical variant.

References

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