Grammaticalization, subjectification and objectification

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It has often been stated that grammaticalization is accompanied by subjectification (e.g. Traugott 1995), which has been rectified to the idea that this process typically tends to accompany only primary grammaticalization, i.e. the very early stages of grammaticalization (Traugott 2010). Taking this hypothesis further, I will suggest in this paper that, in fact, secondary grammaticalization (i.e. when already grammatical elements/constructions move further down the grammaticalization cline) typically leads to the reverse semantic development: objectification. Evidence comes from the development of perfects, the development of futures and the development of progressives, which all seem to exhibit a loss of subjective meaning as grammaticalization proceeds. The study is limited to languages with long well-documented histories: English, German, Latin, the Romance and the Celtic languages.


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