Three perspectives on grammaticalization

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The intersection of lexis and grammar normally provides the focus for the study of grammaticalization. This paper discusses how the focus can be widened by corpus linguistic and sociolinguistic approaches, but is also illustrates the challenges that grammaticalization processes present to corpus-linguistic principles such as total accountability and normalcy. The three perspectives on grammaticalization come together in a case study which raises the issue whether -<i>ly</i> adverbialization constitutes a process of lexicalization or grammaticalization. Historical corpus data on the intensifiers <i>fairly</i> and <i>pretty</i> drawn from Nevalainen and Rissanen (2002) provide evidence for two complementary scenarios. However, placed in a sociolinguistic context, processes of adverbialization prove no different from other forms of language change in that they may be highly susceptible to language-external conditioning.


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