Grammaticalization, the clausal hierarchy and semantic bleaching
This paper takes questions regarding gradience and gradualness to be questions concerning the nature of grammatical categories. A notion of grammatical category is pursued which is not gradient, but rather more “traditional” in the sense that category membership is an instance of standard set membership. In order to deal with some of the empirical difficulties, both synchronic and diachronic, in consistently assigning category membership across all lexical formatives, a fine-grained and elaborate system of categories, following on from Cinque’s (1999) influential work on the clausal hierarchy, is adopted. In the context of this approach, Roberts & Roussou’s (2003) formal approach to grammaticalization, which relies on the central idea that grammaticalization is always upward and leftward in the syntactic structure, is shown to makes some interesting and seemingly correct predictions.