Lehmann’s parameters revisited

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Grammaticalization, and especially degrammaticalization, are polysemous terms. The term ‘grammaticalization’ has been used to refer to changes from a lexical item to a grammatical item (‘primary grammaticalization’), and from a grammatical item to a ‘more grammatical’ item (‘secondary grammaticalization’). Likewise, the term ‘degrammaticalization’ may refer to changes from a grammatical item to a lexical item (‘primary degrammaticalization’), and from a ‘more grammatical’ to a ‘less grammatical’ item (‘secondary degrammaticalization’), as well as to a number of other types of changes. This paper discusses Lehmann’s parameters of grammaticalization as a taxonomic tool, arguing that the parameters can be used to describe both grammaticalization and degrammaticalization changes, as well as to identify different subtypes of grammaticalization and degrammaticalization, with special emphasis on degrammaticalization.


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