An analogical approach to grammaticalization

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Two well-known approaches to language change illustrate a fundamental difference between functional and formal linguistics as to what are considered important mechanisms in change. In Grammaticalization, emphasis is on the semantic-pragmatic factors guiding change, while Generative Theory concentrates on instantaneous intra-linguistic parameter shifts. It will be emphasized here that form and meaning are equally important, and that analogy, as a general cognitive principle, should be seen as the main mechanism operating in change. By means of a case study concerning developments in pragmatic markers that have taken place in English it will be shown that the grammaticalization approach is not adequate in that more notice should be taken of the conventionalized formal system of language in which the development takes place.


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