Grammaticalization and models of language

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The focus of this paper is the role of theory for the understanding of linguistic change. We argue that ‘formal’ and ‘functional’ should not be seen as two incompatible ways of viewing linguistic data, but as necessary aspects of any linguistic theory. We consider how theories which are formal, but which incorporate functional information can advance our understanding of linguistic change, for instance Dynamic Syntax and Lexical-Functional Grammar, especially when combined with Stochastic OT. We consider analyses which show that formal semantics can provide more insightful accounts of certain changes than purely syntactic analyses such as those proposed in some papers in this volume. We compare approaches particularly with respect to analyses of gradience and the directionality of grammaticalization.


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