Nominalization and the origin of subordination

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This paper argues that the paths portrayed in recent literature as the genesis of subordination are only superficial rearrangements of existing subordination, while the real syntactic-cognitive underpinnings of subordination are overlooked. (Derivational) nominalization, the ability to derive a noun from a verb, is shown as the core element in the channel of ‘expansion’, and may also be behind the genesis of relative clauses that are claimed to arise through ‘integration’. And yet, the origins of nominalization are little researched and understood, and thus accounts of the genesis of subordination are robbed of much of their explanatory power. One way is suggested to account for the genesis of nominalization without already presupposing it, based on back-formation from the process of verbalization.


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