Two pathways of grammatical evolution

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Givon has suggested three stages that characterize the diachronic rise of complex constructions: Parataxis, Syntaxis and Lexis. In this paper, it is argued that rather than having three distinct stages of grammatical evolution with a linear increase of tightness, we have to postulate different kinds of integrative processes, which tend to be interwoven with each other in complex ways, both in that they tend to take place at the same time and in that they partly presuppose each other: a. paratactic constructions → syntactic constructions b. syntactic constructions → inflectionally marked words c. syntactic constructions → morphologically complex words In particular, then, there is an intimate relationship between (a) and (b), which means that inflectional morphology not only arises together with the phenomena that Givon labels “Syntaxis” but also to a significant extent is restricted to it.


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