A paradigmatic approach to language and language change

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The present contribution develops responses to the papers of Rosenbach, cHilpert, and Traugott and Trousdale found in this volume, with focus on the following topics: synchronic gradience and gradual language change, reanalysis and analogy, both especially with respect to the grammaticalization of constructions. The paper provides additional data concerning the emergence and reorganisation of paradigmatically organised constructions – mainly from modern Danish and French. Constructions have been defined as symbolic combinations of a syntactic element and a semantic component. If expanded too far, the term ‘construction’ loses its explanatory power, but it is useful to distinguish between the level of the individual lexical verb and the level of grammar. The term ‘construction’ will be employed here only in the latter sense.


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