Invisible, visible, grammaticalization

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The present chapter underlines the claim that grammatical forms are neither “meaningless”, nor can be regarded as a “paradoxon” (Pustet 2005: 186). On the contrary, grammar is meaningful and reflects the physical, psychological, and social experience of speakers. Furthermore it is illustrated that the motivation and mental images behind the rise of grammaticalization products can be reduced to the following formula: an abstract action or concept that is invisible in the discourse world is made “visible” with the help of a universal strategy. This strategy is not language-specific, but similar developments can be observed across typologically distinct languages, such as English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Chinese, Japanese, Turkish, and Ewe (Ströbel 2010). Taking this strategy into consideration can make an important contribution not only to the general cognitive science endeavor, but also to neighboring disciplines such as foreign language acquisition, pedagogy, and teaching.


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