Grammaticalization and the areal factor: The perspective of East and mainland Southeast Asian languages

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Grammaticalization in East and mainland Southeast Asian languages is characterized by a set of properties which seem to be typical of that area. The aim of this paper is to present these properties and to examine them from the perspective of several prominent approaches to grammaticalization: Heine, Claudi and Hünnemeyer (1991), Bybee, Perkins and Pagliuca (1994), Lehmann (1995) and Hopper and Traugott (2003). The specific properties of grammaticalization under discussion will be the lack of obligatory categories, hence the high relevance of pragmatics, the existence of rigid syntactic patterns, and the limited coevolution of form and meaning. The data on East and mainland Southeast Asia show that it seems not only necessary to assume areally relevant patterns of grammaticalization, but also to develop models which allow for more structural variation as far as processes of grammaticalization are concerned.


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